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30 July 2005
Ancient stone-coffin tombs discovered in Tibet

Archaeologists discovered more than 20 ancient tombs with stone coffins dating back nearly 2,800 years ago in southwestern China's Sichuan province. The discovery of stone coffins, first of its kind found in the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Garze, a major Tibetan habitat inwest Sichuan since ancient times, proved other ethnic groups also lived in the area before as Tibetan seldom use stone coffins for burial, said Chen Zujun, an expert from the provincial archaeological research institute. "The bodies we found this time lying on their back or stomach in the coffins," said Chen.
   The coffins were about 1.8 meters long and one to 1.5 meters wide and the coffin cover is made up of three to five pieces of stone slate. "They are quite similar to the stone coffins of the ancient Qiang people, a nomadic tribe used to live in the current northwestern part of China more than 3,000 years ago, which werealso found the valleys of the Yalong River, Minjiang River and Jinsha River in Sichuan," said Chen. "The coffin owners may be from a branch of the tribe, which moved from the north," he said, adding they also found 140 relics, including stoneware, bronze wares and potteries, which proved the tombs made up a cemetery of a tribe relying on handicraft industry.
   The tombs were found at the Xiangcheng County by local farmerswhen building houses early this month, according to the prefecture cultural administration of Garze, which said the county governmenthas put the tombs into its cultural relics protection list and has taken special measures to protect the tombs
   
Source: China View (19 July 2005)

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