A group of ancient tombs was discovered in Shangzhuang County of Fengcheng City in Jiangxi Province, exciting archaeologists. Unfortunately they only found two broken pieces of porcelain after thoroughly searching the tombs because almost all of the sites had been robbed.
Just as they were thinking about giving up the search, having discovered that the last tomb they checked was empty of relics, the scientists located a new, hidden tomb linked to the empty one via a side grave room. At first when they perceived the big hole, they thought that it was a tunnel dug by tomb robbers.
But when they explored through the tunnel, they found a well-protected tomb with more than a dozen exquisite celadon pieces of porcelain laid inside a coffin. Actually it is quite rare to find these kinds of connected twin tombs. Experts have guessed that they were a set built specifically for a husband and wife.
The archaeologists explained that ancient people spent a great amount of time building their tombs while alive. Construction could last from several months to dozens of years. These two tombs were apparently built together; coffins were placed inside after the owners died.
Shivered stones surrounded the newly discovered coffin. Over time these stones formed a protective layer for the coffin.
Archaeologists said that the empty tomb linked to this one was not definitely robbed. Since shivered stones protected the inner tomb and the outer tomb did not have that kind of shield, and because they couldn't find the tunnel dug by robbers, archaeologists now surmise that the host of the tomb may have died in a place far away from his hometown after the tomb was finished.
There are many pieces of celadon porcelain in the well-protected, inner tomb, including an ink stone, calyx, plate, spittoon, fruit plate, pot, bowl, cup and counterweight. This ceramic ware, although some is broken, displays a glaze technique of a high level so it's quite valuable.
A porcelain pot, with two circle veins on its neck and a concave vein on the bottom, was found in the tomb. This is the first time a pot of this shape has been found.
A porcelain counterweight was also discovered in the tomb. Counterweights are not rare in China, but a celadon one is really a new find in China's archaeology history.
Now that the excavation work has finished, archaeologists are starting to study and repair these celadon pieces. The site is under government protection. It's the first time such a large scale group of tombs around Fengcheng City has been found.
This porcelain counterweight, the first of its kind in Jiangxi, was found in the tomb.
A porcelain vessal, with two circle veins on its neck, was discovered in the tomb. This is the first time a pot of this shape has been found in the province.
(China.org.cn by Chen Lin October 20, 2007)