Villager accidentally discovers West Han tomb in his own yard

16:19, February 24, 2011      

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A cultural relics unearthed from the tomb in Lu's yard.

A villager named Lu Mingheng in Lianyungang City in China's Jiangsu Province discovered an ancient tomb belonging to the Western Han dynasty in his own yard accidentally when he was trying to dig a well on Feb. 19.

Once he realized it might be an ancient tomb, Lu immediately stopped digging and called local police to protect the place.

After three days and nights of hard work here, archaeologists from the Lianyungang Museum made an initial assessment that the tomb might date back to the middle period of the Western Han dynasty, and they also unearthed more than 20 cultural relics, including pottery, wooden barrels and decorations.

Ordinary well yields extraordinary find

Lu's wife said they were digging a well in their own yard on Feb. 19, but they suddenly found some wooden boards lined up in an orderly manner.

"It might be an ancient tomb," Lu recalls thinking, so they immediately stopped their digging, and then he told the officials of his village. The officers called police and protected Lu's private yard at the same time.

Local police reported the discovery to the Archaeology Administration of Lianyungang. Archaeologists arrived at Lu's village at 7:30 a.m. the next day and started excavating the place immediately.

After about two hours, archaeologists ascertained it was an ancient tomb due to the tomb outline and chamber.

During the process of excavation, archaeologists did not find any holes to indicate that the tomb had been plundered, and the burial objects in the tomb were mostly intact and preserved well.

Now, the archaeology department of Lianyungang has reported the status of the excavation to the State Administration of Cultural Relics. According to relevant regulations, if some important cultural relics, such as a wet body, were found in the tomb, the excavation works should be stopped and transferred to provincial or higher archaeology department to be continued.

An archaeologist said they have primarily concluded the tomb belonged to the middle period of Western Han dynasty about 2,200 to 2,300 years ago, and more than 20 cultural relics have been unearthed, including some complete ones.

By Wang Hanlu, People's Daily Online
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