Archaeological News

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Posts tagged "china"

The Forbidden City, the palace once home to the emperors of China, was built by workers sliding giant stones for miles on slippery paths of wet ice, researchers have found.

The emperors of China lived in the Forbidden City, located in the heart of Beijing, for nearly 500 years, during China’s final two imperial dynasties, the Ming Dynasty and the Qing Dynasty. Vast numbers of huge stones were mined and transported there for its construction in the 15th and 16th centuries. The heaviest of these giant boulders, aptly named the Large Stone Carving, now weighs more than 220 tons (200 metric tons) but once weighed more than 330 tons (300 metric tons). Read more.

Archaeologists have unearthed three flutes made from the bones of red-crowned cranes in Henan province that dates back 8,000 years, according to Zhengzhou Evening News.

One flute, which has five finger holes, is complete. The longest flute, at more than 20 centimeters long, has two holes but is broken into three pieces.

The flutes indicate people in the Huaihe River Delta 8,000 years ago had an affinity for music.

The recent discovery was made in a village in Wuyang county, which is 777 square kilometers. The village is located near the site of the Jiahu Ruins that was first discovered in 1961. (source)

BEIJING - For Qu Linxia, an archaeologist who specializes in the excavation of ancient tombs, the time between the discovery of a centuries-old burial site and completion of its excavation is an emotional roller coaster.

"Sometimes my heart begins to sink even before we start digging," she said, referring to the sight of disturbed earth and discarded cigarette butts that almost unquestionably point to visits by tomb raiders.

But what Qu described as her “almost foolish optimism” keeps her hopes alive as she and her colleagues at the Shaanxi Provincial Archaeological Institute carefully approach the core of each tomb. Read more.

Archaeologists have unearthed about 300 pieces of cultural relics from a cluster of ancient tombs in north China’s Hebei Province.

The tombs, located in Beidazhao Qiandong village of Nanhe County, 150 km south of the provincial capital of Shijiazhuang, are believed to be from the middle and late West Han Dynasty (206 BC- 24 AD) and middle Tang Dynasty (618-907), archaeologist Li Lianshen was quoted as saying by state-run Xinhua news agency.

Archaeologists have discovered 73 tombs altogether since the excavation started in May and more than 4,000 square meters of land have been combed through, Li said. Read more.

When archaeologists work to understand an ancient civilization, they often use that civilization’s texts to get a clue as to how they saw themselves. But these people didn’t live in isolation. They traded; they invaded. They carried inventions and knowledge back and forth down the Silk Road, the Tea Road and Roman roads. They also, sometimes, wrote down what they thought of each other.

A few years ago, the University of Washington’s John E. Hill drafted an English copy of the Weilüe, a third century C.E. account of the interactions between the Romans and the Chinese, as told from the perspective of ancient China. “Although the Weilue was never classed among the official or ‘canonical’ histories, it has always been held in the highest regard by Chinese scholars as a unique and precious source of historical and geographical information,” says Hill. Read more.

The ancient tomb of a female politician in China, described as the country’s “female prime minister”, has been discovered, Chinese media say.

The tomb of Shangguan Wan’er, who lived from 664-710 AD, was recently found in Shaanxi province. Archaeologists confirmed the tomb was hers this week.

She was a famous politician and poet who served empress Wu Zetian, China’s first female ruler.

However, the tomb was badly damaged, reports said.

The grave was discovered near an airport in Xianyang, Shaanxi province, reports said. Read more.

Blue-white pottery refers to the elegantly painted, blue and white Chinese and İznik tiles and ceramics that were and are highly prized by their owners. Their journey has been a long one, starting with the discovery of cobalt blue in Iran that was mined from the 9th century CE and exported to China mostly as a raw material. There are, however, a very few examples of blue-white pottery that have been found in Iran, with Arabic inscriptions on them from about the same period, suggesting that the blue-white technique went along with the raw material.

The first Chinese blue-white also occur in the 9th century although only fragments have been found. The earthenware continued to be used and admired until it reached an apex in the 14th century. Read more.

XI’AN (Xinhua) — A rare jade statue was unearthed for the first time from a nearly 2,000-year-old burial site in northwest China’s Shaanxi province.

The statue was discovered in a tomb in Maying Town of Baoji City by archaeologists from Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology (SPIA). The team was called in to perform a rescue excavation when relics were discovered on the construction site of a high-speed rail station.

The flat, 12 cm long jade statue is engraved with shallow concave lines in the shape of a male figure.

The piece outlines a man’s head without the body. The figure has closed eyes, a round nose and a wide mouth. He wears his hair in an ancient conical updo, and has a mustache and a beard divided into three sections. Read more.