A 2,000-year-old Han Dynasty tomb in western Beijing being excavated by Chinese archaeologists was opened to the public on August 15.
Approximately 200 people visited the excavation site, which costs 30 yuan per entry. An additional 8 people went into the core working area for a cost of 80 yuan per entry.
"Opening the excavation site to the public will help promote archaeological knowledge among the citizens and enhance their awareness of relics protection," said Yang Boxian, a cultural official from the Shijingshan District, where the tomb is located.
Although the number of visitors is strictly limited, archaeologists are concerned about the possible adverse impact from allowing visitors to the site.
"Archaeological excavation is a serious thing that must be handled very carefully with the least disturbances," said Wang Wuyu, head of the excavation team.
Supporters, however, argued that the tomb had already been robbed so there will not be any major discoveries.
"Excavation is not for archaeologists alone. The important thing is for all the Chinese to take care of their own culture," they said.
The tomb was discovered when the police arrested a group of tomb robbers earlier this year. It is believed to be one of three major archaeological discoveries in the Beijing area in the last five decades.
Archaeologists believe that the tomb belongs to a Han Dynasty prince or his wife. They have dug up lacquerware items and other relics and is soon to open up the coffin.