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1,500-Year-Old Tombs Discovered in Northern China

Friday, January 11, 2019

XI’AN, CHINA—Xinhua reports that a cluster of 12 tombs estimated to be more than 1,500 years old has been discovered in northern China. The tombs are thought to date to the Sixteen Kingdoms period, from A.D. 304 to 439. Liu Daiyun of the Shaanxi Academy of Archaeology said the tombs were arranged in two rows and may have belonged to a single family. Each tomb has a passage, a door, and a path leading to the coffin chamber. “Some new burial customs, such as placing stones in a small pit at the corner of the tomb and the feet of some of the bodies in the tombs being held down by square stones, have been discovered for the first time,” Liu said. Figurines of warriors, servants, and animals made of pottery, and mirrors, stamps, hair clasps, pins, bracelets, bells, and coins made of bronze were also found in the tombs. Two of the burials contained piglet skulls and millet shells. DNA tests could reveal whether the occupants of the tombs were members of the same family, Liu added. For more on burial practices in China, go to “Tomb from a Lost Tribe.”

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