|19 August 2006
Amazing chariot and horses find in China
Archaeologists digging at Luoyang, in China’s central Henan province, were stunned by an astounding discovery - a chariot and its team of horses. The mysterious find was preserved perfectly, with six horse skeletons still tied to the chariot they were pulling.
Historians believe the remains date from the Eastern Zhou dynasty, which ended in the year 221 BCE, but they're baffled as to how the horses came to be there. Some say the animals must have died in battle or a landslide, while others think they were buried as part of their owner's funeral service. The chariot may have belonged to a Chinese emperor and, with its delicate wheels, was much better than most around back then. "We are not sure who was the owner of the horses but it maybe they were part of a sacrificial rite. We found from ancient literature this type of transport was called the 'emperor riding six,'" said Yu Liangyuan, the deputy manager of Luoyang City Heritage Task Force
Builders first stumbled on a number of pits when digging to make new offices in Luoyang - China's first capital. Archaeologists then discovered 397 tombs, with 17 of them containing chariots and horses, all laid out in a long line.
"The cart had a copper axle, which we have not discovered before. Bronzeware and jade unearthed from the burial site are in good shape, which is unique, as usually 90 percent of the graves are empty upon discovery," added Yu. Further excavation is being carried out around the site, he said.
Sources: Daily Mail (17 August 2006), CBBC Newsround, Daily Express (18 August 2006)
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