|17 January 2015
30 tombs, 28 chariots, 98 horse skeletons found in China
Archaeologists from Beijing University have discovered a group of 30 tombs, 28 chariots and 49 pairs of horse skeletons dating back 2,800 years in Zaoyang city, Hubei Province in eastern China, 1,000 kilometres west of Shanghai. The tombs date to the Spring and Autumn Period, 770 to 476 BCE. All the tombs have been found on the same piece of land, with a separate "mass grave" of at least 28 wooden chariots buried on their sides in a pit 33 metres long and 4 metres wide.
Liu Xu, a professor from the School of Archaeology and Museology of Beijing University, has said: "This chariot and horse pit is different from those discovered previously along the Yangtze River. The chariots and horses were densely buried. Many of the wheels were taken off and the [remaining] parts of the chariots were placed one by one.
In the three months they have been excavating, the archaeologists have also unearthed another pit, five metres away from the chariot pit, which holds at least 49 pairs of horse skeletons. Huang Wenxin, a researcher from the provincial archaeological institute, says that: "Judging from the way the horses were buried ...back to back, lying on their sides, it means that two horses pull one chariot."
So far over 400 pieces of bronze, pottery and other objects have been uncovered, including a bronze pot engraved with Old Chinese characters, a fine pottery container encircled by a dragon, and a thin flat metal item with Old Chinese characters painted on one side. Also discovered were some of the oldest musical instruments ever found in China, including a broken 25-string zither, and a 4.7 metre-long set of bronze chimes.
Edited from Intyernational Business Times (8 January 2015)
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