Chinese archaeologists have discovered a graveyard housing a large group of ancient tombs in southwestern China's Yunnan Province. A total of 998 items, including pottery, stoneware and ancient shell coins, were discovered in 652 tombs.
Location: Southwestern China
Excavation of the tombs in Qiaojia County, Zhaotong City began in March. The graveyard, covering approximately 6,000 square meters, is located beneath a huge hydropower station in the Jinsha River basin. An estimated area of 5,000 square meters has been excavated so far.
Age: over 2000 years
The tombs are believed to date back to some time between the early Bronze Age and the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 B.C.) and the Warring States period (475-221 B.C.), according to Kang Lihong, associate researcher with the Yunnan institute of cultural relics and archaeology.
"The climate of the Jinsha River basin is hot and dry, so the corrosion rate has been slow and the potteries and shell coins as well as the skeletons in the grave are quite intact," Kang said.
Value: Ancient culture insights
The excavation provides rich materials for studies of burial customs and local culture, and is of great value to the burial culture in the Jinsha River basin, Kang said.