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Cemetery of Western Han Dynasty Discovered at Three Gorges

A huge cemetery from China's Western Han Dynasty (206 BC to 24 AD) has been discovered at the Three Gorges area's Tujing town of southwest China's Chongqing municipality.

According to Fang Gang of the Chongqing archaeological squad, 62 burial pits with typical Western Han patterns were found within a scope of 2000 square meters at a large tableland alongside the Yangtze River.

The pits were orderly arranged in several rows and each row contained five to seven tombs with almost equal space among one another. The arranging pattern and the scale of the tombs were exactly like cemeteries today, said Fang.

Fang said that most tombs discovered were small and medium sized and the funerary objects unearthed were chiefly pottery, together with some adornments and weapons. Possibly it was a cemetery of civilians, said the archaeologist.

Most Han tombs discovered in this area were brick-chambered tombs and cliff burial tombs, Fang said, and it was the first time that a Han cemetery had been unearthed here.

The big cemetery might indicate a large-scale settlement here, said Fang, and this would help a lot to study Chongqing's economy, culture and life patterns in the Western Han Dynasty.

(Xinhua News Agency February 14, 2004)

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