Archaeological Discoveries
in 2001
Archaeological Discoveries
in 2000
Top Ten Archaeological Finds
for 1999
Archaeological Discoveries
in 1999

The No.1 Han Tomb at Huxishan in
Hunan Province

  This is the second tomb of a marquis of the Han period excavated in Hunan area that had not been robbed, following the first Han tomb excavated at Changsha in the area. This tomb is a rectangular shaft pit, with a sloping passage to the grave. There are two side chambers, in the south and north respectively. The coffin is still well preserved. The burial objects were mostly placed in the four chambers and in the coffin, including the outer coffin.
  The 500 unearthed objects include enamel wooden articles, pottery wares, bronze mirrors, jade seals, and bi (a round piece of jade with a hole in the center,). Also, nearly 1,000 bamboo strips were found in the tomb. The articles were exquisitely produced with a great number of needle-incised patterns. The beautifully written characters on the bamboo strips are clear enough to read. Their contents involve four major categories, including books, homilies, general household register and cuisine. The last two are particularly important. The general household register recorded the number of households of various townships in the state of the Yuanling marquis in the Western Han period. The cuisine section records the materials and ingredients of various dishes and cooking methods, filling a gap in our knowledge of ancient cuisine.
  The occupant of the tomb was Wu Yang, son of Wu
Chen, king of Changsha. He was the first Yuan Ling marquis, having received the title in the first year of the reign of Gaohou (187 B.C.). He died in the second year of Houyuan of the reign of Emperor Wendi, which means that he had been on the throne for 25 years. The excavation of the tomb provides most valuable materials for the study of the history of that time.