Tombs spanning six dynasties found in Suzhou


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A large group of ancient tombs from six different dynasties were discovered at Huqiu County of Suzhou city in Jiangsu province. 

The earliest of the tombs dates back to the early part of the Eastern Han dynasty, and the tombs are from different eras that overlap with one another, which present a spectacular scene. It is a rare find in the archaeological history of Suzhou. 

Archaeologists are now excavating the tombs have already unearthed a wide variety of precious cultural relics, including pottery, porcelain, bronze mirror and gold hairpins. 

The recently discovered massive tomb group is located to the southwest of Huqiu scenic area. The place is undergoing a comprehensive improvement project. The natives call this area the Tomb of the Family Song. An archaeologist said that the of Family Song’s Tomb remains were a big mound of 2,000 square meters, with a height of 6 meters at the highest point, and they are about 1,000 meters from the Huqiu scenic area. 

The ancient tombs group crosses six ancient eras: Eastern Han, the Six Dynasties, Tang, Song, Ming and Qing. At present, 41 tombs have been excavated, most of which were from the Ming and Qing dynasties. According to the epitaphs, most of them are family cemeteries and the earliest tombs can date back to the Song Dynasty. Most coffins have completely rotted away. Only a Qing dynasty coffin remains because it is well painted and sealed and is relatively new. But it is so fragile that it can crumble at a touch. 

The archaeologist Zhang Tiejun said all these 41 excavated graves were of small and medium size. One of the largest among them was the Tomb of the Family Mao, which was designed and constructed by his son, a local elite, as he served as the vice minister of the ministry of personnel of the imperial government at that time. 

The reporter has learned from local residents that this group of ancient tombs was a once a large mound that was higher than the two-storey buildings nearby. Before the excavation, the mound was covered with weeds and trees, and some local people grew vegetables on it. Zhang said the current archaeological excavation is being carried out in an orderly manner. 

Source: People’s Daily [August 12, 2011]



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