What’s Inside an Ancient Chinese Tomb?

Recently, archaeologists unearthed a Zhou Dynasty tomb in China’s Henan Province. What did they find inside this 3,000 year old grave?

What was the Western Zhou Dynasty?

The Zhou Dynasty was the longest lasting dynasty in Chinese history. Historians believe it began in 1046 BC and lasted until 256 BC. However, the ruling Jī family only wielded military and political control over China from 1046 BC to 771 BC, a period which is often referred to as the Western Zhou Dynasty. It was marked by the introduction of iron, impressive bronzeware, and the evolution of Chinese script into its modern form.

Recently, while constructing a hospital in Luoyang, workers discovered underground structures. Archaeologists excavated the area and unearthed a perfectly-preserved tomb dating back to the Western Zhou Dynasty. They consider it “the most complete find of any tomb of its era.” So, what did they find inside it?

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

The excavation unveiled numerous pits. Some of these pits contained pottery, copper weapons, jade objects, and bronzeware. However, these finds paled in comparison to the main pit where archaeologists uncovered the remains of five wooden chariots and twelve dead horses. Although the chariots have rotted away, the ash residue remains as you can see in the pictures at the links above. The horse skeletons were found lying on their sides, indicating that they were probably killed before burial.

The tomb probably belonged to a mid-level official. In life, he was most likely of limited importance. But in death, he and his tomb are providing valuable insight into funeral customs as well as other aspects of the Western Zhou dynasty.

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