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Archaeologists unearth treasure from 2,500-year-old tomb

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Rorie LaFay
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« on: July 02, 2007, 11:21:13 pm »

Archaeologists unearth treasure from 2,500-year-old tomb

Beijing, July. 1 (PTI): Chinese archaeologists excavating a 2,500-year-old tomb in east China's Jiangxi Province have discovered a well-preserved body, many pieces of bronze, gold, silver items and porcelain and jade from one of the 47 coffins discovered.

The tomb, in Lijia village in Jing'an county, is 16 metres long, about 11.5 metres wide and three metres deep. It is believed to date back to the Eastern Zhou Dynasty (770-221 BC).

It is the largest group of coffins ever discovered in a single tomb and the excavation has been dubbed "the most important archaeology project of the year" by cultural experts and media.

Nine coffins were opened by archaeologists earlier because they were rotten and partly destroyed by tomb robbers.

Archaeologists opened another coffin today and found a relatively complete human skeleton, bodily tissue, as well as many bronze, gold and silver items including porcelain and jade.

"This is the first time that such a complete bone structure was found in southern China and it will fill in gaps in the study of human bone structure in the pre-Qin era (770-221 BC)," said Zhu Hong, a palaeoanthropological expert from Jilin University.

Zhu said the unique burial style could be one reason why the skeleton was preserved so well in an area where the soil was acidic and unfavourable for preservation of human body.

The coffins were made from halved nanmu, a rare and extremely durable wood, and covered in a layer of loess. They were fire-heated to make them solid, pressurised and waterproof, Xinhua news agency reported.

http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/003200707011653.htm
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