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50 more ancient tombs unearthed in central China 2007-04-13 21:13:45
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    ZHENGZHOU, April 13 (Xinhua) -- Chinese archaeologists have discovered a complex of 50 tombs, most of which date back 1,800 years, in Jiaozuo City, in central China's Henan Province.

    Some of the tombs date from the Han dynasty (206 BC to 220), others belong to the Eastern Jin dynasty (317 to 420), the Northern Dynasties period (386 to 581) and the Tang dynasty (618 to 907).

    Archaeologists unearthed more than 200 historical artifacts, including pottery utensils, china objects, bronze basins, iron items, jade articles and pearl ornaments.

    All the tombs had at least one underground chamber built of brick but the shape of their ceilings were unique to their dynasties.

    From two large tombs, whose occupants might have been high-ranking officials or warriors in the Eastern Han Dynasty (24 to 220), a set of terracotta animal-shaped sculptures and a rare, well-preserved bronze flatiron carved with two dragons on the handle, were discovered.

    The artifacts will provide valuable clues for the study of how people lived as well as funeral customs of the different eras.

    The south-to-north water diversion project, which runs across eight provinces and regions, has given Chinese archaeologists unprecedented opportunities to discover old treasures.

    The project consists of three canals, each running more than 1,200 kilometers across the eastern, central and western parts of the country.

    The eastern and central routes of the scheme will require the protection of more than 700 major cultural heritage sites, with a planned excavation area surpassing 1.6 million square meters.

    Last November, the Chinese government decided to allocate 50 million yuan (6.2 million U.S. dollars) for the preservation of 45 major cultural heritage sites along the two routes.

    Archaeologists in Henan have unearthed 27,500 cultural relics from 3,600 tombs in the area affected by the project and will finish the work before an underground canal is dug near the sites.

Editor: Liu Dan
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