| 2 December 2007
Ancient coffin unearthed in central China
Farmers in Jingzhou, in central China's Hubei province, made a rare find: the discovery of a well-preserved ancient tomb. Inside was a coffin dating back more than 2,000 years. Archeologists have just opened it, seeking to unlock the secrets of the past.
Archeologists call the tomb Xiejia Yihao, literally Family Xie No.1. The name comes from the bridge nearby, in the village of Guanju, Jingzhou city. The tomb is nearly 5-meters long by 3-meters wide. Each side of the coffin was made from a single piece of wood. Yan Pin, director of Heritage Bureau of Jingzhou City, said, "It's among the few well-preserved tombs found in China." Over 300 antique pieces have been found in the four boxes surrounding the main coffin at the center. Scientists have recovered implements in daily use during that long ago epoch. They were made from lacquered wood, pottery, bronze and bamboo. The coffin was made exquisitely with four layers of silk whose elaborate patterns still can be seen.
Experts have ordered a halt to excavation work, to protect the newly found treasure. The coffin, weighing nearly 4-tons, was then moved to the Museum of Jingzhou City, where it was opened. 6 kilometers away from the tomb, Xiejia No.1, another tomb was discovered in 1975. It also was from the same era, of the Western Han Dynasty. There, the coffin was double-layered. The remains found in that coffin are regarded as the oldest and best preserved ever found in China. Experts say the newly found tomb is similar to the earlier discovery. New archeological discoveries in the same area are expected.
Sources: China View (27 November 2007), CCTV (30 November 2007)
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