Vehicles unearthed in Western Han Dynasty cemetary

Updated: 2015-11-09 17:09


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Vehicles unearthed in Western Han Dynasty cemetary

The provincial institute of archaeology releases the phased achievements on the archaeological study of the royal tombs of Marquis of Haihun State on Nov 4, 2015. [Photo/]

Vehicles and sacrificed horses were found in a tomb in Nanchang city in East China's Jiangxi province, the first tomb excavated south of the Yangtze River with real vehicles.

Archaeologists discovered five well-preserved horse-drawn vehicles, each with four sacrificed horses, in the corridor of the main tomb of "Haihunhou" (Marquis of Haihun) dating back to the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC- 25 AD).

The Haihunhou cemetery is located in Nanchang, capital of Jiangxi province. It covers some 40,000 square meters with eight tombs and a chariot burial site, with walls that stretch for almost 900 meters.

Archeologists suspect that the main tomb is that of Liu He, grandson of Emperor Wu, the greatest ruler of Han Dynasty, one of the most prosperous periods in China's history. Liu was given the title "Haihunhou" (Marquis of Haihun) after he was deposed as emperor after only 27 days, dethroned by the royal clan because of his lack of talent and morals. Haihun is the ancient name of a very small kingdom in the north of Jiangxi.

According to archaeologist Xin Lixiang, vehicles with four horses indicates that the owner of the vehicle was among the highest level of the Han Dynasty.

More than 3,000 accessories embellished with gold and silver were found at the same time.

"Some of the accessories are not from the Central Plain, they might come from western regions," said Hu Dongbo, professor with School of Archaeology and Museology of Peking University.

The team have also found more than 10 tonnes of Wuzhu bronze coins together with more than 10,000 other gold, bronze and iron items, unearthed along with jade articles, wood tablets and bamboo slips.

The excavation began in 2011. The next stage of the archeological work will be to look for items locked in the coffin of the central mausoleum.