China will allocate 100 million yuan to excavate cultural relics at the dam area of the gigantic Three Gorges Project before the area is flooded around 2003.
The figure is equal to the total amount of special funds China earmarks each year for cultural relics protection and half of the investment in excavating cultural relics at the Three Gorges over the past three years, said Shao Weidong, an official with the Chongqing Municipal Cultural Bureau. The fund will be used to excavate cultural objects buried at a 120,000-square-meter dam, Shao said.
The Three Gorges Project on the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, the world's largest hydro-electric power project, will flood a land area of 632 sq km upon its completion. After a three-year investigation, Chinese archeologists worked out a protection plan in 1992, listing 1,087 sites of cultural relics for top government protection costing 1 billion yuan.
To date, more than 2,000 rare cultural relics dating back to the Stone Age period have been unearthed from the dam area near Chongqing. These relics are of great importance to the study of the history of civilization along the upper and middle reaches of the Yangtze River.
The water level at the reservoir will climb to 135 meters around 2003. Cultural relics below 135 meters must be excavated and moved to other places before the deadline.
More than 100 archeologists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and universities and cultural relics protection departments across the country have arrived at the Three Gorges for speedy excavation of the valuable relics.