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HomeNewsNew discoveries
Three jade burial suit tombs from Eastern Han Dynasty found in Yanshi, Henan
From:Chinese Archaeology  Writer:  Date:2017-07-11
The three jade burial suit tombs were located in the south of Pantun Village, Chengguan County, Yanshi City, Henan Province. From October 2015 to January 2016, salvage excavation was conducted by a joint archaeological team consisting of Luoyang Municipal Institute of Cultural Relic and Archaeology and Yanshi Municipal Administration of Cultural Relics and Tourism.


Top view of the excavated area

There were 4 tombs with flatten mound being found. They were all multi-chambered tombs constructed by both bricks and stones. They all had long and sloping burial passages which were heading east. Both of tombs M26 and M27 had 3 chambers. They had tomb passages, front chambers, wing-rooms, vaulted passages, middle chamber, side chambers and back chambers. Compared to M26 and M27, there is one front chamber less than them in M28. Three tombs were built in a special way. There were a circle of 50cm wide blue stones as bases paved along tomb walls inside tomb door after earthen pit was dug , while before brick-paved tomb chambers were constructed. Then, on the base, there were two-layered tiled walls and a vaulting top. Brick-paved floor had two layers, too. The lower layer was paved by edge-on bricks and the upper layer was tiled in staggered joints pattern. Beneath each layer, there was paved with lime. And brick surface of upper layer was basically even to that of blue stones.


The front chamber of the tomb M26

Front chamber of M26 is rectangular in plane. To the north-central of the front chamber, a brick-paved wing-room was dug. Front chamber was connected to a rectangular middle chamber by the vaulted passage. To the south of the middle chamber, a brick-paved side-room was dug. And back chamber was located in the south-west of the middle chamber. On the bottom, there were relatively obvious trace of two coffins remained.


The middle chamber of the tomb M26

M27 had basically same form with M26, however, was badly destroyed with only part of wall bricks and blue stones left. Only stone door frame and board were remained. On the top of tomb door, there was brick-paved screen wall. The plane of front chamber is rectangular. To the south-central, a brick-paved wing-room was built. The vaulted passage was in the west of the front chamber. It was relatively narrow compared to the front room. In the west of the vaulted passage, there was a middle chamber in rectangular plane. To the south, a brick-paved side-room was constructed. Back chamber was in the slightly south-west of the middle chamber. There were only 3 stone door frame pillars in residue. Stone door board was broken into 3 sections on the floor. According to preservation state of stone door, the back chamber probably had double coffins.

M28 was relatively small but rather well-preserved. On the south wall, there were 2 steps inside original soil. On the earth walls, 4 rectangular grooves were dug. On the north wall, there was a mellow-soil second-tier platform with grooves corresponding to the south wall after dissection. The mellow-soil platform may be related to the secondary burials. On the south wall of the vaulted passage, there was a wing-room. To the south of the middle chamber, there was a side-room being built. On the bottom of back chamber, there was trace of one coffins remained.


unearthed burial goods 

Three tombs were all heavily looted. Only a few artifacts were uncovered, including potteries, iron, copper artifacts, jade wares and stone tools. Potteries including jars, bowls, plates, ear cups, mould of pottery tables, granary, as well as animal figurines were found. Cooper artifacts contain spearheads, animal head appliques, hinges, tubular artifacts usually with barbs and etc. Iron artifacts include mirrors, shovels and so on. Stone and jade wares range from jade pieces, soap stone-made pigs and etc. There were pierced square jade plaques in all three tombs. Among them, there was silver thread in M26.

According to the shape and structure of the tomb along with its graving goods, it's preliminarily predicted that the three tombs belonged to the late period of Eastern Han Dynasty. In addition, the tomb owners probably were high-ranked aristocrats, such as marquises, first high-ranking government officials and princesses. Considering the discovery of archaeological excavation in the peripheral areas recently, the gentle slope areas among the east of Han-Wei Luoyang City, southern slope of Mangshan Mountain and Luo River were very important burial ground for high-ranked nobles during Eastern Han Period.    (Translator: Ma Huanhuan)



 
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