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29 May 2004
Large tomb group uncovered in China

Archaeologists have uncovered a complex of large tombs in Qishan County, Shaanxi Province, north-western China. The discovery was made at the Zhougong Temple site, where a joint excavation by the Shaanxi Archaeological Research Institute and Beijing University has been going on since February.
     The Zhougong Temple was built in the Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE) to commemorate Zhougong, the regent of the newly established Western Zhou Dynasty. However, the Western Zhou Dynasty lasted from the 11th century BCE - 771 BCE, and it is from this period that the tombs date, and they are the highest standard Western Zhou Dynasty tombs ever discovered in China.
     There are twelve tombs at the site - seven feature four tomb passages, one has three tomb passages, one has two tomb passages and one has just one tomb passage. Seven chariot pits were also excavated at the site.
     "Judging from the scale of the tombs, the owner might be somebody of high rank, a duke, a prince, or even a king of the Western Zhou Dynasty," said Lei Xingshan, associate professor with the School of Archaeology and Museology at Beijing University. "However, no evidence shows that it is the tomb of the king of the Western Zhou Dynasty."

Source: China View (27 May 2004)

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