|14 October 2011
Tombs with rays of stones discovered on Pamir Plateau
Chinese archaeologists have discovered an unidentified cluster of tombs on the Pamir Plateau, the mountain range formed by the junction or knot of the Himalayas, Tian Shan, Karakoram, Kunlun, and Hindu Kush ranges (Central Asia).
Eights tombs, each two meters in diameter, were arranged on a 100-meter-long and 50-meter-wide terrace, with lines of black stones and lines of white stones radiating outward from the center like rays, according to the archaeology team with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences that found the tombs in Xinjiang's Taxkorgan Tajik Autonomous County, a border region neighboring Afghanistan and Pakistan.
"The tombs are peculiar. No similar ones had been detected before on the Pamirs Plateau, or even in all of Central Asia," team leader Wu Xinhua said, adding that the discovery shows a gap between their knowledge and studies, and previous findings along the Silk Road.
Wu believes that the ray-like stone strings might imply sun worship, but he admitted his assumption lacked sufficient evidence. But the archaeology team believes people buried in the tombs had dignified social statuses as the black stones were carried from afar and the terrace for the tomb platform would have been a rare land resource in the area. A local archaeologist said local nomads spotted an additional three similar tomb clusters in the township where the archaeology team discovered the tombs with ray-like stones.
Edited from Xinhuanet.com (12 October 2011)
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