XI'AN, June 7 (Xinhuanet) -- A team composed of officials and archaeologists have arrived in northwest China's Shaanxi Province to inspect the protection of the tombs of the Western Zhou Dynasty(c. 1100 B.C.-771 B.C.) discovered at the Zhougong Temple in Qishan County.
They include Shan Jixiang, director of the State Administrationof Cultural Heritage (SACH), Zhang Bai, vice director of the SACH,Huang Jinglue, deputy chairman of the Archaeological Society of China, Zhang Zhongpei, former curator of the Palace Museum, and LiBoqian, Yan Wenming and Liu Xu, professors with Beijing University.
After on-the-spot investigations at the tombs, the team discussed with the local cultural relics institutions and public security departments on the protection of the site and decided measures are taken immediately.
The archaeological investigation at the tombs, which began in March this year, was cooperatively carried out by the Shaanxi Archaeological Research Institute and Beijing University.
So far, archaeologists discovered 19 large tombs and 13 funeral pits. Among the tombs, nine have four tomb passages, the highest rank of tombs of the Western Zhou Dynasty ever discovered in China,four have three tomb passages, four have two tomb passages and two have just one tomb passage.
Moreover, over 700 tortoise shells with more than 420 characters identified so far were unearthed at the tombs. Among the inscriptions on the shells, archaeologists discovered the word"Zhougong" four times.
Archaeologists also unearthed a 1,500-meter city wall and six sites of construction ruins.
After investigation, archaeologists said that the tombs may be the family cemetery of Zhougong, the regent in the earlier years of the Western Zhou Dynasty and cultural icon of the Chinese nation.
According to Zou Heng, China's famous archaeologist on the Western Zhou Dynasty, the tombs discovered at the Zhougong Temple could be one of the most important archaeological discoveries since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949.
"The discovery will be of invaluable significance to the research of the history of China," said Zou. Enditem