Archaeological News

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A 13,000-square-meter site at the mausoleum of China’s first feudal emperor, which is predicted by archeologists to be a huge underground arsenal, is now under preliminary excavation.

The excavation is expected to be a potentially major archeological discovery that would help the world to learn more about the history of the Qin Dynasty (221BC-206BC).

According to a Tuesday report by China Central Television (CCTV), stone helmets and armor for both soldiers and horses have been discovered at the mausoleum of Emperor Qin, some 35 kilometers from Xi’an in Northwest China’s Shaanxi Province. Read more.

NANCHANG — Archaeologists have excavated a dragon kiln over 1,200 years old in Jingdezhen, once the center of China’s ceramics industry, in the eastern province of Jiangxi.

The Tang Dynasty (618-907) kiln is 78.8 meters long and is the longest ever found from that period, according to Xu Changqing, head of Jiangxi cultural relics and archaeological institute.

The kiln, in the ruins of Nanyao Village, was unearthed by a team from Xiamen, Northwest and Nankai universities and Leping City, between March and November, Xu said at a press conference on Monday. Read more.

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The Terracotta Warriors, along with other life-size sculptures built for the First Emperor of China, were inspired by Greek art, new research indicates.

About 8,000 Terracotta Warriors, which are life-size statues of infantryman, cavalry, archers, charioteers and generals, were buried in three pits less than a mile to the northeast of the mausoleum of Qin Shi Huangdi, the first emperor. He unified the country through conquest more than 2,200 years ago. Pits containing sculptures of acrobats, strongmen, dancers and civil servants have also been found near the mausoleum.

Now, new research points to ancient Greek sculpture as the inspiration for the emperor’s afterlife army. Read more.

Beijing — Archaeologists in China’s Shanxi province have discovered a 1,400-year-old temple where a collection of the Buddha statues was once stored.

The shrine, enclosed by walls carved with Buddha niches, is part of the Tongzi temple complex secluded on a mountain near the city of Taiyuan, capital of Shanxi, Xinhua reported Sunday.

According to the researchers with the Institute of Archaeology of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the structure was built in 556 A.D. during the Northern Qi Dynasty (550-557), a booming period for Buddhism. Read more.

Excavations in 1986 and 1987 at the early Neolithic site of Jiahu, located in Henan Province, Northern China, yielded six complete bone flutes as well as fragments of  approximately 30 others.

Tonal analysis of the Neolithic flutes revealed that the seven holes they contain corresponded to a scale remarkably similar to the eight-note scale of “do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, do“. This carefully-selected tone scale suggested to the researchers that the musician of the seventh millennium BCE could play music and not just single notes.

The exquisitely-crafted flutes are all made from the ulnae or wing bones of the red-crowned crane (Grus japonensis Millen). The best-preserved flute has actually been played and this presented a rare opportunity to hear musical sounds from nine millennia ago. Read more.

HEFEI — Archaeologists said a Neolithic Chinese city was excavated on Wednesday in east China’s Anhui Province.

Part of a trapezoidal city wall and moat from the 4,500-year-old Nanchengzi Ruins in Guzhen County have been uncovered, along with a great number of houses, according to archaeologists from Wuhan University.

The archaeology team has also unearthed items from the Neolithic Age to the Han Dynasty, which dates back about 2,000 years. The items include deer heads and antlers, tortoise shell, and wheat and rice seeds. Read more.

Archaeologists in China have unearthed the skulls of more than 80 young women who may have been sacrificed more than 4,000 years ago, state media reported on Monday.

The skulls were found in what appears to have been a mass grave at the Shimao Ruins, the site of a neolithic stone city in the northern province of Shaanxi.

The women’s bodies were not present, the official news agency Xinhua said, adding that archaeologists concluded that the skulls were “likely to be related china to the construction of the city wall” in “ancient religious activities or foundation ceremonies” before construction began. Read more.

China is to start removing treasures from its greatest ever marine archaeological discovery, six years after the wreck was raised from the seabed in a giant metal box, reports said Friday.

The wooden Nanhai 1 sank near Yangjiang in the southern province of Guangdong during the Southern Song Dynasty of 1127-1279, with an estimated 60,000 to 80,000 items on board.

For centuries it was preserved under the sea by a thick covering of silt, and it was discovered accidentally by a British-Chinese expedition looking for a completely different vessel, the Rhynsburg from the Dutch East India Company (VOC).

The Nanhai 1 was salvaged in 2007, and its cargo of porcelain, lacquerware and gold objects is “more than enough to stuff a provincial-level museum”, said the Southern Metropolis Daily. Read more.