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Ancient Chinese Warrior’s Tomb Unearthed

July 18, 2012

This tomb was uncovered recently in Xiangyang China. Researchers found that it dates back about 1,800 years to the early Three Kingdoms period, a time when the country was split into the realms of Wei, Wu and Shu. The two chambers in the back would have been covered by dome shaped roofs in antiquity. A life-size bronze horse can be seen in the anteroom and the back chamber contains two coffins holding the remains of a general, who was about 45 years old when he died, and his wife. Despite the chaos of the time they were buried with beautiful treasures. Photo courtesy Chinese Archaeology.

An intriguing report from Live Science about a newly excavated 1,800-year old Chinese tomb from the Three Kingdom’s period:

About 1,800 years ago, at a time when China was breaking apart into three warring kingdoms, a warrior was laid to rest.

Buried in a tomb with domed roofs, along with his wife, he was about 45 years old when he died. Their skeletal remains were found inside two wooden coffins that had rotted away. Archaeologists don’t know their names but, based on the tomb design and grave goods, they believe he was a general who had served one or more of the country’s warring lords, perhaps Cao Cao and his son Cao Pi.

His tomb was discovered in Xiangyang, a city that, in the time of the Three Kingdoms, was of great strategic importance. Rescue excavations started in October 2008 and now the discovery is detailed in the most recent edition of the journal Chinese Archaeology.

Tomb showing anteroom and back (burial) chamber detail.

The rescue operation, carried out by the Xiangyang Municipal Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, uncovered many treasures in the tomb. One of the biggest finds was a life-size bronze horse, the largest ever found in China.It measures 5.3 feet long and by 5.3 feet tall (163 cm by 163 cm). “The horse figurine is in standing posture, has erected ears, protruded eyes, opened mouth, long and broad neck, upright mane and drooped tail,” writes archaeologist Liu Jiangsheng. [Photos of Three Kingdoms’ Tomb & Grave Goods]

Detail of life size bronze horse in the tomb’s anteroom. Photo courtesy Chinese Archaeology.

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