Beijing (China Daily/ANN) - Fan Jinshi didn’t set out to be the guardian of the treasures of the Silk Road. When she first went to Dunhuang, Gansu province in western China, the petite archeologist never imagined she would spend a year living alone in the forsaken outpost with no running water, no electricity or even a decent toilet.
But five decades have passed, and the 73-year-old Hangzhou native is still there, leading her team in the research and preservation of the 1,600-year-old Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang, a desert city in China’s Northwest Gansu province.
“I came here for a very simple reason,” says Fan, who was assigned to work at the Dunhuang Academy after she graduated in archeology from Peking University in 1963. “Back then, things were very different - houses, beds and chairs, everything seemed to be made out of mud.
“But being an extraordinary scholar means that one has to spend years in toil and solitude,” she says. “And the longer I stayed here, the more I felt I belonged here, and that may explain why I’ve ended up being here nearly all my life.” Read more.
TAXKORGAN, Xinjiang, (Xinhua) — Chinese archaeologists have discovered an unidentified cluster of tombs on the Pamirs Plateau, unveiling a new mystery on the crossroads of the ancient Silk Road.
Eights tombs, each two meters in diameter, were arranged on a 100-meter-long and 50-meter-wide terrace, with lines of black stones and lines of white stones stretching alongside like rays, according to the archaeology team with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences that found the tombs in Xinjiang’s Taxkorgan Tajik Autonomous County, a border region neighboring Afghanistan and Pakistan, in October.
“The tombs are peculiar. No similar ones had been detected before on the Pamirs Plateau, or even in all of Central Asia,” team captain Wu Xinhua said, adding that the discovery shows a gap between their knowledge and studies, and previous findings along the Silk Road. Read more.
BEIJING (UPI) — Chinese archaeologists say they’ve found evidence of agricultural activity in an ancient vanished city that was a pivotal stop along the famous Silk Road.
Scientists from the Institute of Geology and Geophysics said remote sensing procedures, field investigations and sample testing in the area showed there were once large tracts of farmland in Loulan, an important trading city that mysteriously disappeared in the third century A.D., China’s official news agency Xinhua reported Sunday.
Farmland featuring regular and straight plots stretching for 200 to 1,000 yards, as well as irrigation ditches running throughout, have been found, Qin Xiaoguang, a member of the research team, said.
Grain particles in the area’s ground surface are very likely the remains of crop plants, Qin said.
Evidence of an ancient canal measuring 10 to 20 yards wide and 5 feet deep suggest the city, which is thought to have perished in drought, was once rich in water resources, the researchers said. (source)