Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Thursday, December 06, 2001

Livestock Pit Unearthed in Royal Mausoleum

A Chinese archaeological team announced recently they have unearthed one livestock pit and another two sacrifice pits around Luozhuang Mausoleum, the earliest West Han (206 B.C.--25 AD.) Dynasty royal mausoleum so far unearthed in China.


This raised the total number of excavated ancient animal tombs in the mausoleum to 36.

Large Variety of Animals Found
Cui Dayong, director of Jinan Institute of Archaeology, said that the newly discovered livestock pit is claimed to have the largest variety of animals ever excavated from a tomb site in China.

The pit, 25 meters long, 1.8 meters wide, and 1.9 meters deep, is located 20 meters south of the east aisle of the mausoleum, containing nearly 100 remains of different animals including sheep, rabbits, horses, pigs and dogs.

Among them are complete skeletal remains of 40 sheep, which were valued as an auspicious animal in West Han Dynasty, Fang Jianguo, the team leader said.

Although more than 30 pits have been unearthed since June 1999,this was the first time a livestock sacrifice pit has been found there, archeologists said.

Luozhuang Mausoleum-Royal Standing
Luozhuang Mausoleum is located 40 kilometers east of Jinan, the capital of east China's Shandong Province. Archaeologists believe that the mausoleum dates back to 186 B.C.

So far the main chamber of the mausoleum has not been thoroughly analyzed, but the abundance of items in the pits indicates the tomb's occupant could have been of royal standing.

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