Archeologists in the central Chinese province of Henan recently unearthed bronze ware items from an ancient tomb that is at least 3,000 years old.
Most of the heritage items are drinking vessels, found in a tomb that is 2.9 meters long, 1.4 meters wide and 3.2 meters deep and dates back to the early days of the Western Zhou Dynasty (c. 11th century - 71 BC).
The most noticeable item is a well-preserved goblet nearly 30 centimeters tall and ingrained with graphics that resemble banana leaves, dragons and faces of animals.
The inside of its bottom is ingrained with two incomprehensible characters which experts assume indicate its owner's name.
Archeologists say the owner of the tomb could be a nobleman from the predecessor Shang Dynasty, because a number of aristocrats of the former dynasty had been reportedly detained in Luoyang, the ancient Chinese capital, after the Zhou Dynasty took over.
The drinking vessels, which must have been buried in sacrifice with the dead, also echoed historical records that people of the Shang Dynasty liked drinking, said an official with the Luoyang cultural heritage bureau.
He said the coffin and most of the skeleton had decayed and only a piece of thigh bone was found at the bottom of the tomb.
The tomb was uncovered close to a downtown railway station.
In the same area, archeologists have located four other ancient tombs with several items of bronze ware, china ware and jade. Two of them are from the Western Zhou Dynasty and two others date back to the Spring and Autumn Period, which lasted from 770 BC to 475 BC.
(Xinhua News Agency March 2, 2004)