BEIJING, Dec. 22 (Xinhuanet) -- The finding of
ancient tombs which may take up a total area of 1 million square metres in
southern Beijing has surprised many archaeologists.
Exploration of the first group of the graves, covering an area of around 200,000 square kilometres, has already started, with that into the rest five to six groups
not yet scheduled, source with the Beijing Municipal Cultural Relics Bureau was
yesterday quoted by the Beijing-based Star Daily.
"Our preliminary prospecting indicates there are 40
to 50 ancient graves in the designated Group One, of which we have explored
about one-third," said an official identified as Zhu.
Archaeologists have only discovered graves from Han
(206 BC-AD 220) and Tang (618-907) dynasties so far, but Zhu said the conclusion
was left open regarding whether or not graves from other dynasties might still
be found there.
Unfortunately, said Zhu, the Han graves that have
been explored so far have been robbed, with but only a few ancient coins left,
while those from the Tang Dynasty, mainly containing pottery and china, did not
generate much interest.
Therefore, the municipal government has not yet
decided whether to pledge manpower and money to protect the graves. "This will
be decided mostly by the value of the graves," Zhu said.
The graves were found by local farmers in Yizhuang, a
zone mainly for foreign ventures. Zhu said the graves may actually be relocated.
Zhu considered the greatest merit of this discovery
is it has for the first time proved the huge population of the region at the
"Due to southern Beijing's backward economy and
devastating floods of the Yongding River in ancient times, we traditionally
consider the area as 'not populous,'" he said.
"We now suspect there will be remains of populous
towns in the area as well. But no clues have so far been found."