Intricate Song Dynasty tomb found in SW China

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Builders digging at a Chinese secondary school had the rare fortune to stumble upon an ancient tomb.

Intricate Song Dynasty tomb found in SW China
According to the Chongqing Municipal Academy of Cultural Heritage, a dual-chamber tomb
 dating back to Song Dynasty (960 – 1279) was found in Jiangjin District in southwest 
China’s Chongqing on Aug. 2, 2015. The tomb, assembled by stones with rectangular
 double-chamber, is 8.5 meters long, 7.5 meters wide and 3 meters high. According to
 Niu Yingbin, the person in charge of the archaeological excavations, such a huge,
 complex, and beautifully carved dual-chamber tomb is very rare 
[Credit: ImagineChina/Splash News]

Archaeologists have since excavated the tomb in Jiangjin, a district in Chongqing, south west China, to reveal an enormous, double-chambered burial site.

The large scale tomb, believed to be built during the Song Dynasty (960 – 1279AD), is extreme intricate in design and layout, Chinese sources reported.

Intricate Song Dynasty tomb found in SW China
The large scale tomb, believed to be built during the Song Dynasty (960 – 1279AD), 
is extremely intricate [Credit: ImagineChina/Splash News]

Chongqing Municipal Academy of Cultural Heritage has been excavating the site since July 16 and the field work was completed August 2.

According to Niu Yingbin, the archaeologist in charge of the excavation, a tomb of this size and complexity is extremely rare, especially in Chongqing.

Intricate Song Dynasty tomb found in SW China
Carvings of warriors, gods, plants and animals could be found throughout 
the walls and ceilings of the tomb [Credit: ImagineChina/Splash News]

He has revealed that the excavation site is composed of a large mound that sealed the entrance and the main tomb.

There’s evidence of a stone pillar formation around the oval shaped mound. Remnants of the pillars measure just over 8 feet high.

Intricate Song Dynasty tomb found in SW China
Colour could still be seen on certain carving in the tomb. Some have been splashed
 with red and others black [Credit: ImagineChina/Splash News]

The tomb itself is situated in the middle of the mound and is built entirely of stone. A spacious, rectangular double burial chamber is at the centre of the tomb.

This measures approximately 28 feet long, 25 feet wide and 10 feet high, which is about the size of three single-deck buses parked side by side.

Intricate Song Dynasty tomb found in SW China
Archaeologists believe the tomb is typical for the Song Dynasty but its exact 
date is yet to be unconfirmed [Credit: ImagineChina/Splash News]

Layout of the tomb includes an entrance corridor, dividing wall, two burial chambers and alcoves.

Niu Yingbin revealed that the burial chambers are joined by a central passage way. Each chamber is adorned with intricate carvings, depicting warriors, gods, children, animals and plants.

Intricate Song Dynasty tomb found in SW China
Despite being estimated to be least 700 years old, the tomb is remarkably 
well preserved in its entirety[Credit: ImagineChina/Splash News]

Parts of the carving was even coloured with red and black paint, which is still visible.

Using the tomb’s structure and associated artefacts as clues, the archaeologists estimate the burial chamber to be built during the Song Dynasty, between 960AD and 1279AD.

Intricate Song Dynasty tomb found in SW China
The complex tomb is made up of an entrance corridor, main burial chamber
 as well as additional alcoves [Credit: ImagineChina/Splash News]

Niu said: ‘This type of tomb with the double burial chamber isn’t unusual for the Song Dynasty.

‘But it’s quite rare to find a tomb of this scale and complexity in the Chongqing area.’

Intricate Song Dynasty tomb found in SW China
Many delicate engravings can still be seen inside the tomb chamber
[Credit: ImagineChina/Splash News]

Although broken ceramics were found in the tomb, nothing was buried. According to Niu, this indicates that the tomb had been robbed before.

However, Niu stressed that this ‘does not affect the research value of the tomb’.

In fact, the carvings and stone used will all ‘provide valuable information for those studying Song Dynasty’s politics, economics and culture’.

Author: Qin Xie | Source: Daily Mail Online [August 05, 2015]

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