20 Han Dynasty Tombs - Three Gorges Dam

20 Han Dynasty Tombs Found Near Three Gorges Dam

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Archaeologists in the Fengdu region of China have discovered twenty tombs which date back more than 2000 years.   The tombs, which were found on the banks of the Yangtze River close to the Three Gorges Dam, contained 430 objects from ceramics to items in iron and bronze and will provide new insights into the funerary customs and social structure from the period of the Hans dynasty. 

The Three Gorges Dam is the world’s largest hydroelectric power station and has been attracting attention worldwide due to the massive rescue operation underway to save the area’s archaeological treasures before they are lost below the rising waters of the reservoir.

More than US$125 million has been allocated to fund the Three Gorges Relics Rescue Program, which has seen nearly 100 archaeological teams from more than 20 provinces descend on the region to protect and recover its historical sites and relics.   Already more than 1 million square metres have been excavated more than 50,000 valuable artifacts have been unearthed dating as far back as the Old Stone Age, up to 100,000 years ago.

Archaeological findings have included a host of city sites, settlements, graves, buildings, kilns and agricultural remains, and valuable relics recovered have ranged from stone reliefs used to decorate ancient tombs to bamboo writing slips, statues of Buddha and stone carvings erected in front of temples.

The latest discovery of twenty burial sites has revealed that there is plenty more yet to be uncovered in this archaeologically rich region, which is now recognised as the birthplace of Chinese civilization, but time is running out for the research teams as the waters are rising rapidly.

By April Holloway

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