Archaeologists in Luoyang, central China, yesterday unveiled a 2,500-year-old tomb they’ve been excavating since 2009.
The tomb contained copper bells and ceremonial pots. It is the largest site of around 200 tombs in the area. There was also a horse burial pit that contained whole horse skeletons and chariots.
Experts believe that the burial site belongs to a nobleman or royal of a little-known kingdom, called Lukun, that only existed between 638 BC to 525 BC, reported People’s Daily Online.
Discovered: Archaeologists found a horse burial pit in Luoyang, China which contained several whole skeletons and chariots (pictured)
Relics: In another tomb, the largest in the area, archaeologists also discovered copper (pictured) bells and copper ceremonial pots
Damage: The area had ground water damage, which needed to be pumped out (above), but it was still well preserved despite the damage
The local government has been excavating in the Yinchuan area, just south of Luoyang city, since 2009 after a spate of grave robberies.
Initial survey of the area revealed around 200 rectangular grave sites, eight horse and carriage burial pits, 30 storage pits and 10 kilns.
The largest site had a tomb that around approximately three feet below ground. It measured 21 feet long, 17 feet wide and 28 feet deep.
Due to ground water in the area, the exterior of the tomb already have visible water damage.
There were also signs of damage as a result of grave robbery.
However, the interior coffin was protected by plaster and coffin board. It was in the space between the plaster and the coffin board that the copperwares were discovered.
Map: There are around 200 rectangular grave sites, eight horse and carriage burial pits and 30 storage pits and 10 kilns in the Luoyang area
Small: The relatively small size of the burial pits showed experts that it belonged to someone important but with little political power
Influence: The relics from the tomb have yet to be catalogued but they showed influences from the neighbouring regions at the time
The full count of the relic has yet to be completed but owing to its size, experts believe that the site was for a noble family, which didn’t have great political power.
At a nearby site, excavation of a horse burial site has been carried out since 2013.
In a pit that measured 25 feet long, 20 feet wide and nine feet deep, a total of 13 horses and six chariots were found.
The horses had been neatly arranged and were left on their side. They even had decorative items on top.
In a corner of the pit, there were also large quantities of cow and sheep heads and hooves.
Experts believe that the shape of the items belonged to a kingdom called Luhun, which existed between 638 BC to 525 BC.
Details: The horses carried intricate adornments on them (pictured), giving archaeologists clues to the period that the tombs were built
Style: Cow and sheep’s heads and hoofs were also found in the burial site, which was said to be a Luhun Kingdom tradition at the time
Evidence: Experts hope the site will help them uncover and track the movements of the ethnic minority groups in the area during that time
It had been detailed in historic texts but little was known about the kingdom since it only lasted for a short time.
Experts now believe that the burial showed evidence of the Luhun people’s migration.
The Rong people, an ethnic minority group who made up the population of the kingdom, had a tradition of burying the cattle parts in the horse burial pits, which was not seen in other burial sites of the same period.
However, the designs of the objects that were buried also showed the stylistic influence from the surrounding regions during the Spring Autumn period (722 BC to 481 BC).
This showed that the country had absorbed influences from its surroundings and combined them with its own traditions.
It is now hoped that the site will help historians and archaeologists uncover the movements of the ethnic minority groups in the area.