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Ancient tomb gives clues of social mix

China Daily | Updated: 2020-12-03 08:05

Chinese archaeologists have uncovered an ancient tomb dating back to the late Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC) at the Xuyang cemetery in Luoyang, Central China's Henan province.

It is thought to be the tomb of a noble or royal of the Luhun Rong people, an ethnic group that immigrated from the northwest and inhabited Central China during the period.

Bronze bells and chimes, jade ornaments and thumb-rings were found in the well-preserved tomb, which was surrounded by horse and chariot pits, says Wu Yeheng, who is in charge of the excavation site.

The tomb is believed to have integrated the burial customs of both the Rong people and the culture of China's central plains, located on the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River, given the bronze funerary objects as well as the heads and hooves of horses, oxen and sheep found in the chariot pits, according to Shi Jiazhen, head of the Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology in Luoyang.

Liu Qingzhu, an archaeologist with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, says the discovery of the tomb further confirms the migration of Luhun Rong people as recorded in history.

The tomb demonstrates the social life at the time, as well as the cultural integration and evolution, which provides solid evidence of the inclusiveness of Chinese civilization, Liu adds.

Skeletons of five people-one man and four women, all around the age of 30, according to preliminary assessment-buried alive with the dead in an act of human sacrifice, were also found inside the tomb.

Further study on human sacrifice in the tomb is needed since the cruel practice of sacrificial burial had ceased to exist during the Spring and Autumn Period, according to Wang Minghui, another researcher with the academy.

Located in Luoyang's Yichuan county, the Xuyang cemetery is a tomb cluster belonging to ancient Rong migrants. It is the first discovery of Rong remains on the central plains.

Excavation work at the cemetery started in 2013, with 150 tombs dug up so far, including 12 large and medium-sized burial chambers.


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