212 Neolithic tombs discovered in Hubei

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Archeologists in central China's Hubei Province have discovered 212 ancient tombs dating back around 5,000 years to the Neolithic Age, local authorities said Wednesday.

The tombs are located at a relics site in Shayang County in Jingzhou. The site was discovered in 1983 and a recent excavation started in March led to the discovery of the tombs.

The tombs vary in size with five tombs larger than 10 square meters, 32 tombs around four square meters, 61 tombs around 2.5 square meters, and the rest around 1.5 to 2 square meters, said Peng Xiaojun, head of the excavation team and research associate at the Institute of Archaeology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

The discovery shows it was a public tomb and the size differences may suggest people had formed communities and social stratification had appeared, Peng said.

The excavation also led to the discovery of another six tombs dating back to the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1386 A.D.- 1912 A.D.)

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