Latest News:  

English>>Life & Culture

Unravelling a mystery in an ancient grave site


18:16, July 24, 2013

LANZHOU, July 24 (Xinhua) -- At a 20-square-meter lab in the Gansu provincial cultural relics research institute, archaeologists have restored a 2,000-year-old cart that was unearthed in a tomb cluster along the Silk Road.

Caked with clay, the wooden cart was embellished with gold, silver and copper foil patterns. It is typical of a vehicle structure dating back to the Warring States Period (475-221 BC).

"It's amazing that the metal accessories are still shiny after 2,000 years," said Yang Xiaolin, a researcher with the National Museum of China.

The cart was among the items buried at the Majiayuan Graves in Muhe Township, Zhangjiachuan Hui Autonomous County in northwest China's Gansu Province. Since the excavation began in 2006, archaeologists have discovered 60 tombs and sacrificial pits with 44 carts there, making the site one of the ten most important excavation projects of that year.

Wang Hui, chief of the Gansu provincial cultural relics research institution, said the luxuriously decorated carts mean the owner of the graves was nobility among the Xirong, a local tribe.

Before the discovery of the graves, archaeologists knew little about the Xirong, who are believed to have lived in the western part of China, except where recorded in historical files. The ruins of the graves have provided vital evidence for unraveling the mystery of the ancient tribe.

Since 2010, the institution, in cooperation with archaeological departments under Cambridge University, Peking University and the Shaanxi Provincial Archaeological Institution, started repairing and restoring some of the items found at the grave site in the lab at the provincial cultural relics research institute.

Experts determined that the technology and the shape of the cart, as well as other items buried at the graves, had actually originated in the West, indicating that cultural integration had already occurred there 2,000 years ago.

【1】 【2】

We recommend:

Graduation season never comes back

Ways to spend happy summer vacation

The story behind models at auto show

Best scenery photos of week

Realizing Chinese Dreams through porcelain

Bashang Grassland in summer

Highlights of global stewardesses' uniform

Yu Weiwei crowned Miss World China 2013

Chinese model crowned at 8th Asian Super Contest

Email|Print|Comments(Editor:LiQian、Gao Yinan)

Leave your comment0 comments

  1. Name


Selections for you

  1. Special operation members in contest

  2. Members of PLA special forces

  3. New prince makes first appearance

  4. Bird's Nest adds new attraction

  5. 196 villagers' death-defying getaway

  6. Blast rips through bakery in Beijing

  7. 29 gorgeous castles from around the world

  8. Press of 'Crimes of Passion'

  9. China builds 'world's tallest building'

  10. Huawei H1 sales revenue up 10.8 pct

Most Popular


  1. Filmmaker: Chinese like good movies set anywhere
  2. Multinationals' dependence on China grows
  3. Skipping breakfast may increase heart disease risk
  4. Economic restructuring helps China's growth
  5. New thinking needed for Korean crisis
  6. Jobless rate to be 'last straw' for policy direction
  7. Abe should focus more on Japan's economy
  8. Are 'dark fairy tales' appropriate for children?
  9. Xi Murong: Poets and poetry never die
  10. Chinese brands should ‘be bold’

What’s happening in China

People hold funeral for deceased relatives in quake-hit region

  1. Littering from car window to be punished in Beijing
  2. Unions should help workers get allowances
  3. Poultry markets closed for H7N9 case in Langfang
  4. NW China downpours kill 11
  5. Traffic accident kills 16 in E China