16 (Xinhuanet) -- A letter written about 2,000
years ago and never delivered
has provided evidence of China's
oldest post office at a historic site near
the famous Dunhuang
Mogao Grottos along the ancient Silk
The letter written on a piece of silk, 18 cm long and 8 cm
has been found in the Xuanquanzhi Ruins in northwest China's
The writer of the letter sent his greetings
and wishes from the
frontier of the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220) in the remote
region to his friend in an inland area of China.
the letter, the writer described the hard life in the border
area and asked
his friend to buy him some goods and send them to
The letter is so far the best preserved personal letter from
Dynasty, according to archaeologists.
The Xuanquanzhi Ruins are
located at an important pass of the
Silk Road. Ruins of beacon towers built
during the Han, Jin and
Qing dynasties over more than 1,000 years can still
be found near
the Xuanquanzhi Ruins today.
The excavation of
the ruins was conducted from 1990 to 1992.
Their discovery was selected as
one of the top ten discoveries in
China during the last decade of the 20th
Experts have unearthed wooden slips, paper and silk
document the work of the local postal service, transportation
activities, tolls, vehicles and other information that enables
better understand the history and geography of the Han
Ruins of buildings and stables were also found.
Xuanquanzhi was a comprehensive outpost for the postal service,
official order deliveries and reception of guests more than 2,000