Cluster of Ancient Tombs Discovered in China

First Posted: Feb 07, 2013 05:06 AM EST

A cluster of 102 unidentified tombs have been unearthed by Chinese archaeologists who date these tombs to 1,300 years old. Out of the 102 tombs that have been found on the Pamirs plateau in the westernmost part of the country, nearly 40 percent of them were made for infants.

The tombs were discovered last year during the construction of a local hydropower project.

What is astonishing about this discovery is that it dates back to the Tang Dynasty (618 to 907) during which exchanges took place between China and the West via the ancient Silk Road. They had an economic and cultural exchange.

Inside the tombs, the archaeologists also found some wooden caskets with dried out corpses, a few collections of stoneware, pottery, and a large number of well-preserved utensils made from gourds, some of which were placed inside the caskets and copperware. The tombs were found in the Kezilesu Kirgiz Autonomous Prefecture of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

According to Ai Tao from the Xinjiang Archaeological Institute, these items were buried as sacrificial items. The tombs were present at a very unusual location. The cluster was spread out over an area of 1,500 square meters on a 20-meter high cliff.  

The archaeologists found a number of infant corpses from the same site. They plan on initiating a research to uncover the mystery tied to the death of so many young people from the tribe.

"The burial custom is the first of its kind to be found in Xinjiang," said Ai. 

"The shape of the felt-covered caskets show that sinic culture had a great influence on the lives of local people's some 1,300 years ago," said Yu Zhiyong, head of the Xinjiang Archaeological Institute. 

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