Thousand-Year-Old Towns Lie Under Lake

Two ancient towns, both more than 1,800 years old, have been discovered under the Qiandao Lake in eastern Zhejiang Province.

After a preliminary investigation, experts believe they might be the biggest ancient buildings ever found in perfect condition in China.

Located near the Xin'an River, Chun'an and Sui'an started as counties in Eastern Han (25-220). The two towns were buried 40 years ago to make way for a reservoir.

Historical records show that the two towns adopted architectural style using bricks, wood, stones and tiles.

A dozen trial dives led to the discovery of the town of Sui'an, known as "the town of lion" in history, some 40 kilometers from Qiandao Lake town. An underwater camera has recorded the whole process of finding the ancient complex.

According to the tape, the three-meter high ancient town wall is 30 meters under. Nails and knocking rings are visible on the wall gate. A house is standing perfectly though algae has covered its walls and wooden window frames. Inside, the wooden staircase and furniture stay where they were and the fine wood engraving indicates the former prosperity of the town.

In addition, wall bricks from the reign of Emperor Qianlong (1736-1795) and a stone monument from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) have been found 32 meters underwater.

Local authorities said that archeology experts will be invited to carry out further scientific investigations on both towns.

(Xinhua News Agency May 31, 2002)

In This Series

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Diverse Treasure Hunting

Legal Side: Underwater Archaeology

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