World's Largest Cultural Relics Protection Project Underway

The world's largest cultural relics salvation efforts are underway at the Yangtze River's Three Gorges, where the world's largest power project is being built.

In order to save the most important cultural relics before water storage of the power project in 2003, hundreds of archaeologists from 64 research institutes and universities across China gathered in the reservoir area, according to Tuesday's Beijing Daily.

The investment in saving and protecting cultural relics at the Three Gorges will total over one billion yuan.

This winter, the excavation work focuses in Chongqing Municipality. More than 500 sites of relics and ancient tombs have been unearthed. And this year's total excavation area will exceed 200,000 square meters.

To the disappointment of the archaeologists, many ancient tombs have been destroyed by thieves. In the mid-1990s, a huge number of stolen relics were smuggled abroad and entered the international auction market.

Recently, a multilevel cultural relics protection network has been set up at the Three Gorges area. The stealing of cultural relics which was rampant years ago has been basically controlled in the region.

(Xinhua News Agency December 20, 2001)

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