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31 October 2003
Ancient Mongolian nomads had contacts with the West

A bronze mirror and a bronze plate recovered from two tomb sites in Liangcheng county (Inner Mongolia) showed a marked similarity of style with artefacts found in the hinterland of the Eurasian grass plain, indicating the probability of early contact - archaeologists believe that the bronze relics were beyond the capabilities of Chinaís ancient northern peoples. The semi-circular button of the mirror and the plate design of a beast with a birdís head and tigerís body strongly resembled items found in the Black Sea to Trans-Baikalia region of Russia. The tomb sites date back to the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BCE) and the Warring States Period (475-221 BCE). More than 80 tombs have been discovered, yielding some 200 ornaments, together with bone utensils and bones of sacrificial animals. Cao Jianíen, from the regional archaeological institute, says that the sacrifices showed that the tombs belonged to nomads.
     Cao believes that the tomb-builders were native Rong and Di people, two minority ethnic groups that were later assimilated by the Hun people, called Xiongnu during the Han dynasty (206 BCE Ė 220 CE). Cao says that the tombs will provide valuable clues to the origins of the Huns.
(Editorís note: The westward movement of the Huns in the second half of the 4th century CE caused a massive displacement of the Germanic tribes settled around the Black Sea. The resulting barbarian invasions of the Western Roman Empire were a primary cause of its demise in 476 CE.)

Source: Xinuanet (28 October 2003)

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