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30 October 2004
4,000-year-old tombs unearthed in China

Archaeologists in eastern Fujian Province (China) have unearthed 31 tombs dating back about 4,000 years from the bottom of a reservoir in Fuqing. The 31 prehistoric tombs are scattered in an area of 800 square meters at the bottom of the Dongzhang Reservoir, which has dried up due to continual droughts.
     Archaeologists with the provincial archaeological research institute have excavated the area during the past two months, unearthing 123 objects from the tombs. The relics range from pottery to stone tools to jade ware. Each of these tombs is about two meters long and 0.5 to 0.6 meters wide. Lin Yuliang, a research fellow with the institute, said that among these relics, a stone dagger, a stone ear pendant and pottery cups were first discovered in Fujian Province. The fine jade articles and stone loops and bracelets show that the handicraft art had reached a certain high level in the area at that time. Comparing with pottery ware unearthed from other parts of Fujian, experts concluded that the tombs belonged to a period between the late Neolithic and the early Bronze Age, dating back to 3,500 to 4,000 years.
     Du Yuliang said the Dongzhang Reservoir was formerly an open flat land surrounded by mountains and suitable for farming. Du and his colleagues concluded that ancient people in the area farmed instead of fished, because the researches have not found any tools used in fishing. Archaeologists made an emergency excavation in the area when the Dongzhang Reservoir was first built in 1957, but only found the foundations of a Bronze Age house. They have decided to expand their excavations to about 10,000 square meters in area to search for more traces of prehistoric humans.

Source: China Daily (28 October 2004)

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