Archaeological Findings Shed Light on Qin Dynasty

Over 20,000 ancient bamboo slips carrying records of the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) have been unearthed in central China's Hunan Province, an archaeological breakthrough being compared to discovering the Qin-Dynasty terra-cotta soldiers and horses in Shannxi Province.

"This is the first time that such a huge amount of bamboo slipsrecording history ranging from the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC) to the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-25 AD), has been found in China," said Guo Weimin, deputy director of the Hunan Provincial Archaeological Institute. Fewer than 2,000 similar bamboo slips altogether were unearthed last century.

The newly found slips were discovered at the ancient Liye village, Longshan County in Hunan Province.

The bamboo strips, engraved with ancient calligraphy, are official documents recording political, economic and cultural lifesome 2,200 years ago. They contain a total of 200,000 words, according to Zhang Chunlong, a researcher handling the find.

As China's first feudal Emperor of the Qin Dynasty ordered books and documents to be burned and many scholars buried alive, little of the currently available material on the Qin Dynasty is first-hand information.

Experts say that the calligraphy on the bamboo slips is still clear and readable. Such information as multiplication tables, ethnic relations and army grain consumption has been found on the slips, which is widely expected to provide an unprecedented insight into the Qin Dynasty.

( People's Daily July 19, 2002)