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Huge tomb — filled with treasures — sat untouched for more than 2,100 years. Until now

More than 2,100 years ago, a high-ranking official in China’s Western Han Dynasty was buried in a huge tomb filled with treasures. Since then, the tomb has remained untouched, its contents well preserved.

That is until now.

Archaeologists with the Chongqing Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology recently unearthed the ancient tomb, a first of its kind discovery in the area, officials told Xinhua News, according to a Dec. 6 news release from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Known as the “Guankou Western Han No.1 Tomb,” experts said the tomb was the most exciting find in a newly discovered collection of burials dating to the Han Dynasty and Six Dynasties — which lasted from about 206 B.C. until 220 A.D., according to Britannica.

Inside the tomb, archaeologists found more than 600 well-preserved artifacts, officials said. Among the artifacts were lacquerware items, woodenwares, bamboowares, pottery pieces, bronze objects and textiles.

More than 600 artifacts, like this wooden piece, were excavated from the burial, officials said.
More than 600 artifacts, like this wooden piece, were excavated from the burial, officials said.
A lacquer bowl that was discovered in the tomb.
A lacquer bowl that was discovered in the tomb.

There was also a jade sword inside the burial, which indicates that the tomb’s owner was a high-ranking official who held a prominent position, according to experts.

Photos show archaeologists cleaning painted murals covering the coffin room’s walls.

The outer chamber of the tomb had painted murals on its walls, experts said.
The outer chamber of the tomb had painted murals on its walls, experts said.

Officials said the tomb, which dates to approximately 193 B.C., was untouched and had not been damaged by grave robbers.

The first half of the Han Dynasty is known by some as the Western Han Dynasty, according to Britannica. During this time, the dynasty’s capital was in Chang’An, which is about 430 northeast of where the tomb was found. The Han is the longest lasting empire in China’s history.

Google Translate and Baidu Translate were used to translate the release from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

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