A large meteorite was found recently near the Huangdi Mausoleum in Huangling County, northwest China's Shaanxi Province, which may be associated with the death of Huangdi, the legendary forefather of the Chinese nation.
Experts say the discovery of the meteorite has a great significance in answering questions about what caused the death of Huangdi and when China's 5,000-year-old civilization started.
The large "guest from outer space" is believed to have landed on the top of the Yintai Mountain, named after Huangdi's seals (Yintai in Chinese), which are believed to be buried there -- about 5,000 years ago --, according to Li Yanjun, one of the discoverers who has been doing research on Huangdi for 20 years.
Historical records say that Huangdi died when the land was shattered, and in local legend there is a story about nine dragons that broke up the town of Huangling. The smashing of the land and the breaking up of the town may have been caused by the meteorite, Li said.
Most of the meteorite is buried deeply in the earth and the part of it that has been unearthed is only 82 centimeters long and 21 centimeters high, and is highly irregular in its other dimension. Its surface is pitted with bumps and holes and traces of burned material and the structure is very complicated, Li said.
After examining it carefully, experts from the Shaanxi Provincial Coal Geological Prospecting party estimate that the meteorite dates back 5,000 years.
The Mausoleum of Huangdi is a sacred place for Chinese all over the world, and on the Pure Brightness Day, which falls on April 5 every year, a grand ceremony is held there to honor Huangdi, literally the Yellow Emperor.
The part of the legend concerning Huangdi's death says that he was taken away by dragons.
(China Daily April 9, 2002)