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HomeNewsNew discoveries
Large-Scale Tombs of Late Spring and Autumn Period Discovered in the Cemetery of Taosibei, Shanxi Province
From:Chinese Archaeology  Writer:  Date:2017-09-05
Cemetery of Taosibei Site was located in Xiangfen County, Shanxi Province, it covered an area of 24,000 square meters measured 600 meters from east to west and 400 meters from south to north. During March 2016 to January 2017, Shanxi Provincial Institute of the Archeology together with other institutes conducted the salvage excavation, which covering an area of 850 square meters, 5 earthen shaft pit tombs of late Spring and Autumn Period (M1 to M5) and 2 chariot and horse pits were excavated. According to the scale, it could be classified into 2 types, 2 in large scale and 3 in small scale.


The Bird's-eye view of tomb IIIM1 


The Bird's-eye view of tomb IIM4 

The 2 large scale tombs were numbered as M1 and M2, the opening of which was 5 to 7 meters in length and 4 to 5.4 meters in width with 10 meters in depth.

M1 was an earthen shaft pit tombs accumulated with stone on the top, with 6.5 meters in length, 5.4 meters in width and 9.8 meters in depth. A layer of stones was paved on the top of outer coffin, and stones were filled around the wall of outer coffin’s chamber, which formed the stone made second-tier platform. The bottom of the tomb chamber was also paved with a layer of stone. The funerary utensils were one outer coffin and two inner coffins. The owner of the tomb was a female aged 30 bearing a fetus in abdomen, and her bones were bad preserved, easy to break.


Tripod Ding and pot Hu found in the southwestern corner of tomb M1 

The unearthed burial objects included bronze, jade, lead, potteries, bone tools etc. There were 25 bronze containers, including 8 Ding Tripod, 2 water vessel Jian, 2 pot Hu, 2 Li tripods, 2 Fu container, 2 Zhou vessels, 1 He vessel, 1 plate, and 1 steaming cauldron Yan. Among musical instruments, there were 8 large bronze bell Bo, 2 sets of chime stones in 10 pieces (Shiqing kind of ancient instruments made from highly polished marble slabs in various shapes), and 2 cart units (the endpiece of axle and axle-pin); 1 pottery Li tripod. Jade wares were mainly the owner’s accessories, with pendants on the neck, stem-shape jade on both side of the arms, and step on jade around the feet. There were shells and mud balls in the bronze Ding tripod discovered in the northwest corner between the inner and outer coffin. Bronze bells were found in the four corners of the outer coffin, which should be coffin decorations.


Bronze bell Bo found in tomb M1 

Tomb M2 was 5.4 meters in length, 4 meters in width, 9 meters in depth. There were a few stones piled on the earthen second-tier platform. The burial utensils were one outer coffin with two inner coffins. The human skeleton was decayed into powder. Burial objects include 10 bronze wares (5 tripod Ding, 2 Dou vessels with covers, 1 plate, 1 Yi vessel, 1 Zhou vessel, and 1 endpiece of axle). Among musical instruments, there were 9 bronze bells with knob, 2 sets of stone chimes into 10 pieces. There discovered the wares of lead and terne metal, which had become grey-white power in the shape of fish. The jade was the owner’s accessories, which were mainly placed around head and neck. 1 rectangle lacquer ware was found in the south part between the inner and outer coffin. There were 4 pottery pots, 2 Dou vessels with cover.


Bronze ware found in tomb M2

Three small scale tombs were unearthed. Tomb M3 has one inner and one outer coffin. M4 has a single inner coffin. M5 has no burial utensils. There were 5 pieces of potteries in total, including Li tripod, Jar, basin and so on, as well as 1 bronze buckle, 1 bronze accessory, and 1 bone ware. The tombs mentioned above were all belong to Late Spring and Autumn period.

Tomb M1 (Excavated in 2015) and M2 (Excavated in 2016) were located east to west in parallel, headed towards north, which should be a couple’s tomb. M2 was smaller than M1, no matter on scale or on the number of burial objects, which was without any bronze weapon and tool, and the owner of the tomb should be a female.


 Bronze bells and stone chimes found in tomb M2


The image on the pot showed a bird hold a snake in the mouth

The bone in tomb M1 (Excavated in 2016) was in bad condition, the gender of which couldn’t be told. There was no bronze weapon or tool, therefore, it could be a female’s tomb also. 5 Lie Ding tripods were among the burial objects, so the tomb should belong to a senior class.

Since 2014, except for 1 south headed small tomb, the other 16 tombs were all north headed. Nearly 80 pieces of bronze vessels, hundreds of jade-wares were unearthed from the cemetery of Taosibei site. The cemetery lasted from the Western and Eastern Zhou Dynasties to Warring States Period, along with the rise and fall of State Jin, which was a noble cemetery of State Jin. The structure of social hierarchy in State Jin’s history, the differences between classes, marriages, families, etc, were all academic problems needed to be solved in the future.    (Translator: Lang Langtian)


 
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