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Earliest Tomb Figures Found in Shaanxi
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Archaeologists have unearthed four colored figures in a tomb in northwest China's Shaanxi Province dating back to the Zhou Dynasty (1046 BC-221 BC).


The wooden tomb figures, about 80 centimeters tall, are believed to be at least 500 years older than that of the terra cotta warriors and horses of Qin Dynasty (221 BC - 206 BC), said Yin Shenping, a researcher with the provincial archeological institute. 




They were standing at the four corners of the tomb numbered "M502" in Liangdai village, Hancheng City, Yin said.


The wood has rotted and become clay, and experts are now considering recasting them with plaster and reagent.


Tomb figures, usually in the shape of human beings, were made of wood, earth, terra cotta, or stone and buried with the dead in ancient times. Before they were created, people were buried alive with the dead as sacrifices. 




The research and excavation work started in April 2005 on the tombs in Liangdai village. Experts from the Shaanxi Archeological Institute have unearthed many precious cultural relics, including gold, copper, jade and iron prior to the tomb figures.


Hancheng City, where the ancient tombs are located, is close to the Yellow River and famous for its long history and culture.



(Xinhua News Agency June 11, 2007)

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