Archaeologists have unearthed more than 5,000 items dating back 2,000 years from a complex of 385 tombs uncovered at a construction site in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
The local cultural relics and archaeology authorities estimate the tombs cover an area of 50,000 sq m and must have been constructed sometime from the Warring States period (475 to 221 B.C.) to the Yuan Dynasty (1271 to 1368).
They believe 285 of the tombs belong to the Warring States period, 43 belong to dynasties of the Qin (221 to 207 B.C.) and the Han (206 B.C. to 220), 13 belong to the Wei (220 to 265) and the Jin (265to 420), and 23 belong to the Liao (916 to 1125) and the Yuan.
Chen Yongzhi, vice director of the regional cultural relics and archaeology institute, said the Warring States tombs are oblong shaped and were built in the middle and late periods of the Warring States.
Judging from the entombment process and funerary objects found in a large Warring States tomb, the occupant might have been a high-ranking general, the expert said, adding the funerary objects unearthed from the tomb included bronze weapons, a carnelian cup, and a pottery jug and pot.
Together with bronze ritual articles, pottery cooking utensils, iron harnesses, and bronze decorations from tombs of other dynasties, more than 5,000 relics were unearthed during the yearlong excavation project.
Excavating the graves is a significant advancement in the study of customs, cultural tradition, protocol, and burial rites in ancient China, said Chen.