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18 June 2006
2,400-year-old tombs discovered in central China

Archaeologists in the central province of Hubei (China) have discovered 47 tombs that date back more than 2,400 years in Yunxian County. They have unearthed two of the largest where they found a dozen intact objects including a copper cooking vessel, copper dishes, a dagger, bronze swords and arrowheads and carved pieces of jade, said Huang Fengchun, a research fellow with the Hubei Provincial Archaeological Research Institute. In the second tomb jade items and hair clasps were unearthed leading archaeologists to believe it is the tomb of a woman, said Huang.
     Huang said the people buried in the two tombs were each accompanied by a servant who was likely buried alive with the dead. He said the two tombs contain the remains nobles of the Jun Kingdom which flourished during the Spring and Autumn Period (770 BCE-476 BCE). Huang said the dead were buried following rites that had been passed down from the Shang Dynasty (1600 BCE-1100 BCE).
     The two tombs were built facing the same direction and are parallel with each other, Hang explained. Given the few relics unearthed from the two tombs, Huang said that the two tombs had likely been robbed in the past. The artifacts from the tombs will help in the study of the culture and times of the Jun kingdom, which was one of six major kingdoms during the Spring and Autumn Period. Huang said the bronze ware discovered in the two tombs will provide important clues in the study of bronze making of different kingdoms during the Spring and Autumn Period. He notes that the bronze ware discovered at the two tombs were made differently than bronze from the same period unearthed elsewhere in China.

Source: China View (17 June 2006)

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