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Archaeological Treasure Trove! 21 Royal Han Tombs Unearthed in China

Archeologists exploring a mountainside in China have found 21 tombs courting again 2,000 years. The presence of luxurious artifacts and a uncommon “couple’s grave” suggests this was an historic royal burial website.

The discovery of the two,000-year-old royal tombs was made on the Changsha archaeological website, which is situated simply over 665 miles (1,000 kilometers) southwest of Shanghai. Located in the present-day Hunan district, the traditional Changsha Kingdom was based in 203 or 202 BC and represented the biggest and longest-lasting kingdom of the Han Empire of China.

The discovery of the 21 tombs was introduced earlier this week by a staff of archaeologists from the Institute of Archaeology , on the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and Hunan Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology. Located alongside a distant mountainside, the researchers mentioned the tombs have laid buried for 2 millennia and that they “potentially held regal past, but not anymore”.

21 Vertical Pits Loaded with Ancient Artifacts

The imperial Han dynasty of historic China was established by Liu Bang round 200 BC and was subsequently dominated by the House of Liu. This dynasty was preceded by the short-lived Qin dynasty , and succeeded by the Three Kingdoms interval from 220 to 280 AD, which represented the tripartite division of China among the many dynastic states of Cao Wei , Shu Han, and Eastern Wu.

On Tuesday this week, by way of China’s state-affiliated information outlet, Xinhua, the Institute of Archaeology on the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences introduced {that a} staff of archaeologists have excavated “21 vertical pit tombs containing over 200 artifacts.” One explicit tomb was crammed with pottery grave items that dated again 2,000 years to the Western Han Dynasty, which the staff of researchers mentioned flourished in the course of the earlier half of the Han dynasty, from about 200 BC to 25 AD.

Photo of the traditional Han tomb after the fill was eliminated. The Chinese burial tomb contained quite a few luxurious artifacts. ( Institute of Archaeology on the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences by way of Xinhua )

Rows of Tombs Whispering Ancient Royal Secrets

The archaeologists mentioned they grouped the 21 tombs into two varieties: “tombs with passageways and tombs without.” Many of the tombs have been discovered side-by-side; at one finish of the positioning, three tombs have been discovered in a row, whereas on the different finish 4 additional tombs have been lined up collectively. One of the 21 tombs unearthed in Changsha held the stays of 5 decaying pillars and outer coffins formed like “Ⅱ” or like double ‘I’s, in keeping with the press launch.

The researchers mentioned one of these double layered tomb “is rarely found in the Hunan province.” In this tomb, excavators recovered “two iron relics, walls covered in glaze and a mineral known as talc and a tan-colored talc disk (or bi) with a rhombus and circle pattern.” Furthermore, it’s thought that the uncommon “pair of tombs” could have accommodated the joint burials of a husband and spouse.


The image exhibits the unearthed talc bi, embellished with lozenge sample + dotted sample, recovered from the traditional Han dynasty tomb ( Institute of Archaeology on the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences by way of Xinhua )

After finding out the assemblage of 21 tombs, that are all of the same age, the archaeologists concluded they possible belonged to “a royal family buried together in an ancient mausoleum”.

Looking To Ancient Chinese Texts for Answers

The Lunheng is a wide-ranging classical Chinese traditional textual content written by Wang Chong round 27-100 AD, containing detailed essays about historic Chinese mythology , pure science, philosophy, and literature. These texts describe Western Han imperial burial practices as having concerned “sacrificial offerings” at ancestral temples, which accounts for the quantity of pottery vessels and grave items found among the many 21 tombs.

Well-known examples of Western Han tombs have been excavated in the previous, together with Mawangdui and the tombs of Liu Sheng , prince of Zhongshan and his spouse, Dou Wan. The tomb at Mawangdui was a nested tomb and the “paired tombs” of Liu Sheng and his spouse, Dou Wan have been (*21*)cave tombs . It is thought that “couple burials” emerged as the usual type of royal burial in the course of the late Han interval, together with the pairing of male/feminine motifs in the styling of the tombs. This is why the archaeologists level in the direction of their discovery of a uncommon “paired tomb” because the smoking gun for this being the burial website of a Han “royal” household.

The ornate jade burial go well with of Liu Sheng and his spouse Dou Wan, the primary undisturbed Western Han tomb ever found ( Public Domain )

Top Image: 21 historic Han tombs have been found, together with a uncommon 2,000-year-old double-layer burial tomb. Source: Xinhua

By Ashley Cowie


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