50 ancient tombs unearthed in central China

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ZHENGZHOU, China -- Chinese archaeologists have discovered a complex of 50 tombs, most of which date back 1,800 years, in Jiaozuo City, in central China's Henan Province.

Some of the tombs date from the Han dynasty (206 BC to 220), others belong to the Eastern Jin dynasty (317 to 420), the Northern Dynasties period (386 to 581) and the Tang dynasty (618 to 907).

Archaeologists unearthed more than 200 historical artifacts, including pottery utensils, china objects, bronze basins, iron items, jade articles and pearl ornaments.

All the tombs had at least one underground chamber built of brick but the shape of their ceilings were unique to their dynasties.

From two large tombs, whose occupants might have been high-ranking officials or warriors in the Eastern Han Dynasty (24 to 220), a set of terracotta animal-shaped sculptures and a rare, well-preserved bronze flatiron carved with two dragons on the handle, were discovered.

[Xinhua also reported that among the 800-year-old relics found in another excavation, in Shijiazhuang, in Hebei Province, "the most valuable relic is the 33.5 cm long, 17 cm wide and five cm thick brick, on which is painted a figure. Archaeologists say the painting was drawn in ink and features a man standing with his hair piled on top of his head. He's wearing a long gown and leather boot and is holding a sword in his right hand."]

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