Edition: English Asia Pacific Africa Europe | Español Français العربية Pусский | 中文简体 中文繁体
Homepage > Culture Video

20,000 items and counting at Haihunhou

CCTV.com

12-30-2015 19:13 BJT

The Han Dynasty burial site of Haihunhou is one of the great archaeological finds of all time. It has been a huge story in China's cultural scene. Five years of excavation have unearthed more than 20,000 pieces, even surpassing the star site known as Ma Wangdui.

The Han Dynasty burial site of Haihunhou counts as one of the great archaeological finds of all time. Certainly, it has been a huge story in China

The Han Dynasty burial site of Haihunhou counts as one of the great archaeological finds of all time. Certainly, it has been a huge story in China's cultural scene. Five years of excavation have unearthed more than 20,000 pieces, even surpassing the star site known as Ma Wangdui.

Dating from the western Han Dynasty more than 2,000 years ago, Haihunhou is the probable resting place of Liu He. He was the grandson of famed emperor Wu, but, apparently lacking either talent or morals, was deposed after only 27 days on the throne himself. He was then named Marquis of Haihun State, a small kingdom to the west of today’s Jiangxi province.

Since excavations began in March 2011, archaeologist have unearthed more than 20,000 items including gold, bronze, iron, jade, lacquerware, textiles, pottery, bamboo slips, and wooden tablets. Such findings from the period are extremely rare.

"What’s on the wooden tablets are letters to the royal court sent by the Marquis of the Haihun State. The bamboo tablets haven't been read through and analyzed by experts, but going by our experience of archaeology of the period, we think they might be books of medicine, agriculture, and calendars," said Xin Lixiang, an archaeologist.

Some 2 million bronze coins, together weighing some 10 tons, have been dug up. They shed light on the monetary system of the period.

Since excavations began in March 2011, archeologists have unearthed more than 20,000 items including gold, bronze, iron, jade, lacquerware, textiles, pottery, bamboo slips, and wooden tablets. Such findings from the period are extremely rare.

Since excavations began in March 2011, archeologists have unearthed more than 20,000 items including gold, bronze, iron, jade, lacquerware, textiles, pottery, bamboo slips, and wooden tablets. Such findings from the period are extremely rare.

"Previously we thought 'one thousand coins making one Guan' started during the Song Dynasty, but now we know it began in the Western Han Dynasty, which is a thousand years earlier," said Zhang Zhongli, an archaeologist.

Chariots, pots, distillers, a chess board, and many musical instruments have also been excavated from the corridors of the tomb.

Digging on the main rooms of the tomb started in mid November. In the western chamber, a folding screen was found with an image thought to be of Confucius, along with biographical inscriptions.

On December 20, the outer coffin was opened to reveal 285 gold pieces, the largest number ever found in a Han-Dynasty tomb.

All in all, Haihunhou has stunned the archaeological world with the quantity and quality of finds.

Follow us on

  • Please scan the QR Code to follow us on Instagram

  • Please scan the QR Code to follow us on Wechat

We Recommend

  • World Heritage China Part 29
  • Glamorous Indonesia Part 2
  • Along the Coast Part 41
  • Glamorous Indonesia Part 1
  • Dreams and the business reality
  • Philippines' beauty pageant obsession
  • China's love for basketball
  • Box office online
  • Jixi: Land of luminaries II