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21 December 2012
Prehistoric burial site unearthed in China

Two months ago a brickyard worker in Baoshan, Yunnan province (in the mountainous extreme southwest of China) was clearing land with a bulldozer when he unearthed what looked to him like a green sword. What he had stumbled upon has turned out to be a Bronze Age burial site.
     The dig has unearthed 100 graves containing dozens of bronze artefacts, including the 60-centimetre crescent sword. Archaeologists working on the 2,500-year old graves have exhumed bronze bells, ornamental weapons and belt buckles alongside amber beads and the remnants of ancient clothing.
     The site is located in the Ailao Mountains and has been attributed to an ancient kingdom of the same name. Little detail is known of the Ailao people other than that they were a largely pastoral society comprised of several different ethnic groups, centred around the Nu River in northwest Yunnan.
     Archaeologists and historians are hoping the dig may reveal Ailao cultural traits and begin to explain how much the kingdom interacted with Han Chinese during the Warring States period.

Edited from GoKunming (December 2012)

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