Category Archives: CHINA

Archaeologists Excavate 200 More Chinese Terracotta Warriors

There Are 8,000 Known Terracotta Warriors. But Archaeologists in China Just Found More Than 200 Others

At the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, nearly 200 more warriors from the ancient China Terracotta Army were unearthed.

The remains of the two chariots, 12 clay horses, bronze swords, arcades and decorative helmets on the site were also found by archeologists.

During the recent excavations of the No. 1 pit in an area covering 400 square meters (4 300 square feet), the finding, which was confirmed by the state-run Xinhua News Agency.

Most of the newly-found warriors were divided into two groups. One group is carrying poles, while the other carries bows, by Shen Maosheng who led the digging. 

The Terracotta Army was built around 2,200 years ago to protect Emperor Qin Shi Huang in the afterlife. The army, which consists of an estimated 8,000 soldiers, over 500 horses and 130 chariots, was assembled in three main pits near to the emperor’s mausoleum.

The 2,200-year-old Terracotta Army at the Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum in 2005.

It was first discovered in 1974 by farmers digging in northwest China. Excavations soon revealed a huge complex with thousands of soldiers, each with individual features.

The tomb is believed to span around 38 square miles and, along with the Terracotta Army, contains a mass grave of laborers and craftsmen. The complex is believed to have taken around 30 years to build.

Archaeologists launched a new excavation at No.1 Pit in 2009. The 200 new warriors were found as part of this effort. This project aimed to better understand the military service system and equipment used by the Qin Dynasty army.

According to Xinhua, No.1 Pit contains 6,000 clay warriors and horses. It is estimated to be 750-feet long and 200-feet wide.

Scientists are still working to understand how this vast army was created. Last year, researchers led by Marcos Martinon-Torres, from the Department of Archaeology at the U.K.’s University of Cambridge, announced that the weapons at the site had been remarkably well-preserved because of the natural conditions in the pits where they were buried. Previously, it had been suggested that they had been coated in some sort of advanced, anti-rust technology.

“In some ways the Terracotta Army feels like an extraordinary playground for archaeologists: It is large, complex, well-preserved, meticulously excavated and great fun,” he told Newsweek at the time. “It raises countless questions that demand tailor-made collaborative approaches and keep all of us amused.”

While the Qin Dynasty lasted just 15 years, it was the first time China was ruled as a unified country. As well as the Terracotta Army, Emperor Qin Shi Huang was also responsible for the construction of the Great Wall of China.

The Ancient Remains of 5,000-Year-Old ‘Giants’ Discovered in China

The Ancient Remains of 5,000-Year-Old ‘Giants’ Discovered in China

In China, archeologists discovered a 5,000-year-old graveyard where ‘ Giants ‘ were buried. Skeletal remains suggest that they were almost a foot taller than anybody else who lived at the time.

Mystery surrounds a recent excavation performed by Chinese archaeologists in eastern parts of the country as they have uncovered the remains of ‘Giants’ that lived in the area some 5000 years ago. Their bone structure shows they were unusually tall and strong report experts.

Archeologists found the remains of unusually ‘ tall ‘ and strong people in Eastern China according to the latest reports from the Chinese news agencies…

According to reports from the People’s Daily Online, the men discovered in the graves measured from around five foot 11 inches to six foot three inches which would have been considered extremely tall 5,000 years ago.

“This is just based on the bone structure. If he was a living person, his height would certainly exceed 1.9 meters,” said Fang Hui, head of Shandong University’s school of history and culture.

For twelve months have Chinese experts been excavating the remains of more than 100 houses, 200 graves and around 20 sacrificial pits located in the Jiaojia village in Zhangqiu District, Jinan City, the capital of Shandong? The ancient relics excavated by archaeologists belong to a late Neolithic Civilization located near the lower reaches of the Yellow River.

“Already agricultural at that time, people had diverse and rich food resources and thus their physique changed,” added Hui.

People in the area most likely lived off agriculture and raising pigs as remains of pig bones were found in some of the tombs.

Archaeologists believe that the skeletons of larger height belong to men of a higher status in the village. Their height is believed to have been related to their status since taller and stronger men could acquire better food, report the People’s Daily Online.

Furthermore, it is believed that people who inhabited the region around Shandong were among the tallest in China, something backed up by official statistics.

According to reports, in 2015, the average height of men 18 years old in Shandong averaged 5.75 feet compared to the national average of 5.64.

Curiously, Confucius, a native to the region was said to be about 1.9 meters tall, or 6.2 feet.

In addition to the unusually tall skeletons, experts also discovered that people in the region lived incredibly comfortable lives and their houses were exceptionally well built, with separate kitchens and bedrooms according to archaeologists. One of the archaeologists—Wang Fen, head of the Jiaojia excavation team—said that they also discovered remains of colorful pottery and jade artifacts as well as ruins of ditches and clay embankments.

Furthermore, experts believe the region was a political, economic and cultural center 5,000 years ago.

Archaeologists believe that people who inhabited the region around Shandong were among the tallest in China.

Wang Yongbo of the Shandong Provincial Institute of Archeology believes the Jiaojia ruins fill a cultural blank 4,500 to 5,000 years ago in the lower reaches of the Yellow River.

Among the graves, archaeologists found that some of the skeletons show clear signs of damage to the head and leg bones. The damage is believed to have been caused due to struggles related to power among high-ranking individuals.

Li Boqian, an archaeologist with Peking University said: “Excavations showed Jiaojia in a transition phase, but proved the existence of ancient states 5,000 years ago in the basin of lower Yellow River.”

Currently, experts are looking to expand the excavation site and more interesting discoveries are expected to be made. The archaeological area of the Jiaojia site has been enlarged from an initial 240,000 square meters to 1 sq km. currently, only 2,000 square meters have been excavated reports the People’s Daily Online.

“Further study and excavation of the site are of great value to our understanding of the origin of culture in east China,” said Zhou Xiaobo, deputy head of the Shandong provincial bureau of cultural heritage.

Divers found a perfectly preserved ancient Chinese underwater city

Divers found a perfectly preserved ancient Chinese underwater city

A maze of white temples, memorial arches, paved roads, and houses… hidden 130 feet underwater: this is China’s real-life Atlantis.

Incredible images show an incredible sunken city hidden in the depths of Qiandao Lake in China. Divers discovered a jaw-dropping labyrinth of adorned temples, memorial arches and dragon carvings, deep in the tranquil waters.

The ancient city, which is hidden 130 feet underwater, was once Shi Cheng – the centre of politics and economics in the eastern province of Zhejiang.

But despite it’s beauty, the city was deliberately flooded by the Chinese government in 1959 to make way for a new hydroelectric power station.

The historical metropolis, built over 1,300 years ago, was slowly filled with water until it was completely submerged by the turquoise-blue mass now referred to as Qiandao Lake.

Qiandao Lake, China. The city was submerged when the valley was flooded to build the Xin’anjiang Reservoir and Xin’an River hydroelectric station in 1959.

The city, which is now dubbed “Lion City” because it is tucked between the Five Lion Mountains, then lay forgotten for 53 years in the man-made lake.

The 1,300-year-old city is in near-perfect condition 

But since being rediscovered in almost perfect condition, it has resurfaced as an underwater adventure park for tourists. Depending on where on the lake bottom it is, the city is between 85 and 131 feet underwater.

Qiu Feng, a local official in charge of tourism, introduced the idea of using Shi Cheng as a destination for diving clubs.

The first voyage was one of discovery, and Qui said: “We were lucky. As soon as we dived into the lake, we found the outside wall of the town and even picked up a brick to prove it.”

It was later discovered that the entire town was intact, including wooden beams and stairs. Now the city has attracted interest from archaeologists and a film crew has been on site to record the preservation of the lost ruins.

Visibility can be quite low due to the unusual conditions

April-October is the recommended months to visit, as there is warmer weather at the lake and hopefully warmer water below the thermocline.

The colder air temperatures in Nov-March can make it uncomfortable for divers to do three dives in a day, particularly those diving in wetsuits. Depending on the time of year, the water temperature can range from 7-16c.

The Dives

Although it is breathtaking, it’s important to remember the differences between the conditions encountered here vs. clear ocean water. All divers are required to do an initial 25ft dive in the lagoon, to ensure they are safe to continue.

Visibility at the surface is about 5ft at best, dropping down to a mere 6 inches in some places at the bottom of the lagoon. But this isn’t the only bizarre sunken city which has been uncovered after years of neglect.

10 tons of copper coins unearthed in 2,000 years old ancient tomb

10 tons of copper coins unearthed in 2,000 years old ancient tomb

Archaeologists have unearthed more than two million copper coins from an ancient complex of tombs in the Xinjian District of China.

The 2,000-year-old money, which bears Chinese symbols, characters, and a square hole in the centre, was found at a dig site in the city of Nanchang.

The value of the coins is said to be around £104,000 ($157,340) and experts believe the main tomb is that of Liu He – the grandson of Emperor Wu, the greatest ruler of Han Dynasty.

Archaeologists have unearthed more than two million copper coins from an ancient complex of tombs in the Xinjian District of China
Archaeologists have unearthed more than two million copper coins from an ancient complex of tombs in the Xinjian District of China

The dynasty ruled between 206 BC and 25 AD.

Experts hope the discovery – which also includes 10,000 other gold, bronze and iron items, chimes, bamboo slips, and tomb figurines – may now shed more light on the life of nobility from ancient times.

The find follows a five-year excavation process on the site which houses eight tombs and a chariot burial site.

It covers (430,550 sq ft (40,000 square metres) with walls that stretch for almost 9,690 ft (900 metres) and experts believe Liu’s wife is buried in one of the tombs, RT reported.   

Xin Lixiang of the China National Museum said the next step is to look within the tomb for items that will give a clearer idea of the occupant. 

‘There may be a royal seal and jade clothes that will suggest the status and identity of the tomb’s occupant,’ he said.  

Chinese people started using coins as currency around 1,200 BC, where instead of trading small farming implements and knives, they would melt them down into small round objects and then turn them back into knives and farm implements when needed.

It meant early coins were known as ‘knife money’ or ‘tool money’, and as people began to rely on them more for commerce they were replaced by copper coins which were of very low value and often had holes in the middle.

The hole meant the coins could be strung together to create larger denominations, with typically around 1,000 coins on a single string being worth one tael of pure silver. 

The 2,000-year-old money, which bears Chinese symbols, characters, and a square hole in the centre, was found at a dig site in the city of Nanchang
The ancient money, which bears Chinese symbols, characters, and a square hole at its centre, was found at a dig site in the Xinjian District in the city of Nanchang, capital of East China’s Jiangxi Province
The hole meant the coins could be strung together to create larger denominations, with typically around 1,000 coins on a single string which was worth one tael of pure silver

At face value, they would be valued at around £104,060 ($157,340), but because of their age and history are believed to be worth far more.

A single coin can, in fact, sell for thousands of pounds, although at the time copper coins had a very low value. The Western Han was regarded as the first unified and powerful empire in Chinese history.

While there are many theories behind the fall of the Western Han Dynasty, recent research suggests human interaction with the environment played a central role in its demise.

A census taken by China in 2 AD suggests the area struck by the massive 14-17 AD flood was very heavily populated, with an average of 122 people per square kilometre, or approximately 9.5 million people living directly in the flood’s path. 

By AD 20-21, the devastated region had become the centre of a rebellion that would end the Western Han Dynasty’s five-century reign of power. 

Along with the tonnes of coins found were also chimes, bamboo slips, and tomb figurines, all of which accompanied deceased nobles of the past when they were buried underground.

The items discovered have promised to help fill in more gaps as historians try to complete the puzzle of ancient Chinese burial customs.

Mummy Found Hiding Inside Ancient Buddha Statue

Mummified monk revealed inside 1,000-year-old Buddha statue

 The unusual contents of the statue were discovered in the 1990s when the statue underwent restoration
The unusual contents of the statue were discovered in the 1990s when the statue underwent restoration

Scientific tests have revealed that an ancient Buddhist statue contains a 1,000-year – old mummified monk’s perfectly preserved remains in what is thought to be the only such example in the world.

The monk, who is sitting in the lotus position, is thought to have starved himself to death in an act of extreme spiritual devotion in China or Tibet in the 10th century. His preserved remains were displayed in his monastery.

Some 200 years later, perhaps after his remains started to deteriorate, his mummified body was placed inside the elaborate, lacquered statue of Buddha.

The unusual contents of the statue were discovered in the 1990s when the statue underwent restoration. Experts were unable to remove the mummy due to the risk of disintegration, so they could do little more than peer into the darkened cavity of the Buddha.

Now, an international team of German, Dutch and Italian scientists has conducted a CAT scan which revealed the monk’s skeleton in perfect detail.

“It was not uncommon for monks to practise self-mummification but to find a mummified monk inside a statue is really extraordinary,” said Wilfrid Rosendahl, a German palaeontologist who led the research.

“It’s the only known example in the world.”Using a CAT scan, we saw that there was a perfectly preserved body with skin and muscles inside the statue. It’s a complete mummy, not just a skeleton. He was aged between 30 and 50.”

The mummy has been studied by an interdisciplinary team of experts, including radio carbon dating specialists and textile analysts, at the Meander Medical Centre in Amersfoort, the Netherlands.

Using an endoscope, experts took samples from inside the mummy’s thoracic and abdominal cavities and discovered that the monk’s organs had been removed and replaced with ancient wads of paper printed with Chinese characters.

The scientists have conducted a CAT scan which revealed the monk's skeleton in perfect detail.
The scientists have conducted a CAT scan which revealed the monk’s skeleton in perfect detail. 

Samples of bone were also taken for DNA testing. The Buddha statue was bought several decades ago on the art market by a Dutch private collector, who had no idea that the mummy was hidden inside. It will go on display in museums around Europe, and is currently in the Natural History Museum in Budapest.” The monk died in a process of self-mummification,” said Dr. Rosendahl.

It was not uncommon for monks to practise self-mummification but to find a mummified monk inside a statue is really extraordinary," said Wilfrid Rosendahl
It was not uncommon for monks to practise self-mummification but to find a mummified monk inside a statue is really extraordinary,” said Wilfrid Rosendahl

During the last weeks, he would have started eating less food and drinking only water. Eventually, he would have gone into a trance, stopped breathing and died.

He basically starved himself to death.”The other monks would have put him close to a fire to dry him out and put him on display in the monastery, we think somewhere in China or Tibet.”

He was probably sitting for 200 years in the monastery and the monks then realized that he needed a bit of support and preservation so they put him inside the statue.”Mummified monks were not only the focus of religious devotion but important for the economy of the monastery because they attracted pilgrims who would offer donations.

The mummy has been studied by an interdisciplinary team of experts, including radio carbon dating specialists and textile analysts, at the Meander Medical Centre in Amersfoort, the Netherlands.
The mummy has been studied by an interdisciplinary team of experts, including radio carbon dating specialists and textile analysts, at the Meander Medical Centre in Amersfoort, the Netherlands.

Source: livescience

3000 year old trousers discovered in Chinese grave oldest ever found

3000-year-old trousers discovered in Chinese grave oldest ever found

That’s right–1000 years before Christ’s birth these were worn. Archeologists say the two men whose remains have recently been excavated from tombs in western China put their pants on one leg at a time, just as the rest of us are doing today.

With straight-fitting legs and a wide crotch, the ancient wool trousers resemble modern riding pants, says a team led by archaeologists Ulrike Beck and Mayke Wagner of the German Archaeological Institute in Berlin.

The discoveries, uncovered in the Yanghai graveyard in China’s Tarim Basin, support previous work suggesting that nomadic herders in Central Asia invented pants to provide bodily protection and freedom of movement for horseback journeys and mounted warfare, the scientists report May 22, 2014, in Quaternary International. So not much changes – these highly decorated pants must have been someone’s pride and joy as a great deal of work has gone into them.  

The two men were around 40 years old when they died, and they were buried along with a decorated leather bridle, a decorated horsetail, a wooden horse bit, a battle-ax, whip, bow sheath, and a leather bracer for arm protection.  Their trouser design comprised three pieces of wool cloth, one for each leg and one for the crotch, which was stitched together and fastened at the waist with strings.  They were finished with woven designs on the legs.

Beck and Wagner described the trousers as “a ground-breaking achievement in the history of cloth making.”This new paper definitely supports the idea that trousers were invented for horse riding by mobile pastoralists, and that trousers were brought to the Tarim Basin by horse-riding peoples,” remarks linguist and China authority Victor Mair of the University of Pennsylvania.

Previously, Europeans and Asians wore gowns, robes, tunics, togas or — as observed on the 5,300-year-old body of Ötzi the Iceman — a three-piece combination of loincloth and individual leggings. A dry climate and hot summers helped preserve human corpses, clothing and other organic material in the Tarim Basin. More than 500 tombs have been excavated in a graveyard there since the early 1970s.

Earlier research on mummies from several Tarim Basin sites, led by Mair, identified a 2,600-year-old individual known as Cherchen Man who wore burgundy trousers probably made of wool. Trousers of Scythian nomads from West Asia date to roughly 2,500 years ago.

Mair suspects that horse riding began about 3,400 years ago and trouser-making came shortly thereafter in wetter regions to the north and west of the Tarim Basin. Ancient trousers from those areas are not likely to have been preserved, Mair says.

Horse riding’s origins are uncertain and could date to at least 4,000 years ago, comments archaeologist Margarita Gleba of University College London. If so, she says, “I would not be surprised if trousers appeared at least that far back.”

Front view of the woollen trousers (find number: 2003SYIM21:19, after Xinjiang, 2011) from the Yanghai site, tomb M21; (A) drawing: U. Beck; (B)

Front view of the woollen trousers (find number: 2003SYIM21:19, after Xinjiang, 2011) from the Yanghai site, tomb M21; (A) drawing: U. Beck; (B) 

The two trouser-wearing men entombed at Yanghai were roughly 40 years old and had probably been warriors as well as herders, the investigators say. One man was buried with a decorated leather bridle, a wooden horse bit, a battle-ax and a leather bracer for arm protection. Among objects placed with the other body were a whip, a decorated horse tail, a bow sheath, and a bow.

Beck and Wagner’s group obtained radiocarbon ages of fibers from both men’s trousers, and of three other items in one of the tombs.

The Yanghai Tombs (also spelled Yang-Hai) are located in the desert Turpan Basin of Shanshan County, Turpan District, in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region of northwest China. Yangshai lies at the base of the Fire or Flaming Mountains (Huoyan Shan) and the foothills of the Heavenly Mountains (Tian Shan), on the edge of the Turpan Oasis, that has drawn people for thousands of years. Yangshai is about 30 km southeast of the main site of Turfan or Gaochang.

The tombs are grouped into three localities: Group 1, Group 2, and Group 3. The localities are really artificial: the cemetery is one big location, measuring some 54,000 square meters (or about 600,000 square feet) in the area.

The people buried in the tombs were nomadic pastoralists of the Subeixi culture, one of many Steppe Societies who roamed the deserts and steppes of central Eurasia from Ukraine to China. The Yanghai Tombs were discovered in the early 1970s by local Turpan villagers who were repairing a karez, and the tombs were excavated through the early 21st century.

Much of the publication in English has been focused on the analysis of the hundreds of mummies and thousands of artifacts recovered from the tombs. More than 500 tombs were excavated in 2003 alone, under the direction of E.G. Lu, with support from the Xinjiang Institute of Archaeology and the Bureau of Cultural Relics of Turpan Prefecture.

The trousers were sewn together from three pieces of brown-colored wool cloth, one piece for each leg and an insert for the crotch. The tailoring involved no cutting but included side slits, strings for fastening at the waist and woven designs on the legs.

Source: phys.org