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Hospital construction uncovers ancient, treasure-filled tombs in China. Take a look

Not far from Hong Kong is another bustling Chinese city: Guangzhou. Complete with a sprawling skyline overlooking a massive river, the city is one of the most populous in the country.

Now, archaeologists have reason to think the city has been a central location for the country for more than 2,000 years.

Recent construction on a hospital in Guangzhou led experts to more than 300 relics from six dynasties over a period of more than 2,000 years, according to the Institute of Archaeology at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Among the ancient discoveries were several tombs, preserved infrastructure and smaller artifacts like tiles and pottery pieces.

The oldest finds date to the Western Han dynasty — which lasted from 206 B.C. until 9 A.D., according to the Met Museum — and include drainage ditches connected to pottery pipes, water wells, an ash pit and three tombs, the institute said.

Pottery pipes connected the drainage ditches.
Pottery pipes connected the drainage ditches.
The pottery pipes date to the Western Han dynasty, which lasted from 206 BC until 9 AD.
The pottery pipes date to the Western Han dynasty, which lasted from 206 BC until 9 AD.

Within the wells, the team said it discovered stone inkstone as well as several pottery pots.

Inside the well, archaeologists found several artifacts.
Inside the well, archaeologists found several artifacts.
This stone inkstone was discovered inside the well, the institute said.
This stone inkstone was discovered inside the well, the institute said.
Several ancient pottery pieces were unearthed at the site.
Several ancient pottery pieces were unearthed at the site.

The ash pit contained remnants of tiles, pottery, boxes and tools.

This ash pit, which dates back to the Han dynasty, was a trove of ancient tiles, pottery pieces and tools, archaeologists said.
This ash pit, which dates back to the Han dynasty, was a trove of ancient tiles, pottery pieces and tools, archaeologists said.

The three tombs were rectangular pits, archaeologists said. Each had funerary pottery, including bowls, boxes, pots with lids and cauldrons. Two of the tombs held decayed human remains, but the burial methods are unknown.

The rectangular pit tombs from the Han Dynasty held severely decayed human remains.
The rectangular pit tombs from the Han Dynasty held severely decayed human remains.
The Han tombs had funeral pottery inside.
The Han tombs had funeral pottery inside.

A fourth tomb from the Southern dynasty — which lasted from 386 A.D. until 589 A.D. — was also discovered at the site.

Unlike the Han tombs, the Southern tomb was a rectangular chamber tomb made of brick in which a body was buried upright. Inside the tomb, archaeologists said they found patterns in the bricks, a decayed human bone, three celadon cups and one porcelain bow.

Unlike the Han dynasty tombs, the tomb from the Southern dynasty was a brick chamber.
Unlike the Han dynasty tombs, the tomb from the Southern dynasty was a brick chamber.
Three celadon cups were found inside the brick tomb chamber.
Three celadon cups were found inside the brick tomb chamber.

A second ash pit that was used starting in the Tang dynasty through the Five dynasties — 618 A.D. until 960 A.D. —was discovered and contained smooth shells, holding pots, incense burner covers, porcelain bowls and various kinds of tiles, the institute said.

A pagoda model was among the artifacts unearthed from the Tang and Five dynasties.
A pagoda model was among the artifacts unearthed from the Tang and Five dynasties.

Archaeologists also found evidence of moats that existed sometime between 1368 and 1911, during the Ming and Qing dynasties, according to the institute.

Evidence of moats from the Ming and Qing dynasties were also unearthed.
Evidence of moats from the Ming and Qing dynasties were also unearthed.

Google Translate and Baidu Translate were used to translate the news release from the Institute of Archaeology at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

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