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Sino-French Expedition in Southern Taklimakan Desert Complete

A Sino-French expedition into the ancient civilization in the Keriya River Valley in the southern Taklimakan Desert, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, has been concluded, according to Xinhua report yesterday.


Xidlis Abdulrasula, a fellow researcher and a member of the Sino-French investigative team, told Xinhua they had made five trips into the southern part of Taklimakan Desert for field work since 1993 and had been blessed with a range of discoveries.


In those five trips, members on expedition, listed as a part of governmental cooperation between China and France, discovered three ancient city ruins on the ancient course of the river. The earliest are the Yuansha ancient city ruins of the Western Han Dynasty (BC 206 -24 AD).


The expedition team, with nine members, including three scientists from France, also collected fine stone implements, jadeware and glassware in those trips, said Abdulrasula, who is also head of Xinjiang Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology.


The Keriya River originates at the northern foot of the Kunlun Mountains. It used to flow northwardly across the Taklimakan Desert, considered the second biggest moving sand dune desert in the world, to join Tarim River in the northern part of the desert.


Currently, the river continues to flow northwardly but dries up 240 km away from its origin. Its original riverbed, which is 30 km west of the current one, was buried by moving sand dunes.


Abdulrasula added that they would publish a detailed report about the 12-year-long joint archeological excavation after they finish lab research work.


(Xinhua News Agency December 23, 2005)

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