culture

Tomb sheds light on ethnic fusion in ancient China

ZHENGZHOU, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) — Chinese archaeologists have uncovered an ancient tomb dating back to the late Spring and Autumn Period (770 B.C.-476 B.C.) at the Xuyang Cemetery in Luoyang, central China’s Henan Province.

It is thought to be the tomb of a noble or royal of the Luhun Rong people, an ethnic group that immigrated from the northwest and inhabited central China during the period.

Bronze bells and chimes, jade ornaments and thumb-rings were found in the well-preserved tomb which was surrounded by horse and chariot pits, said Wu Yeheng, who is in charge of the excavation site.

The tomb is believed to have integrated the burial customs of the Rong people and the culture of China’s central plains located on the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River, given the bronze funerary objects as well as the heads and hooves of horses, oxen and sheep found in the chariot pits, according to Shi Jiazhen, head of the Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology in Luoyang.

Liu Qingzhu, an archaeologist with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the discovery of the tomb further confirmed the migration of Luhun Rong people as recorded in history.

The tomb shows social life at the time as well as the cultural integration and evolution, which provides solid evidence of the inclusiveness of Chinese civilization, Liu added.

Skeletons of five people — one man and four women around the age of 30 according to preliminary assessment — buried alive with the dead in an act of human sacrifice, were also found in the tomb.

Further study on human sacrifice in the tomb is needed since the cruel practice of sacrificial burial had ceased to exist during the Spring and Autumn Period, according to Wang Minghui, another researcher with the academy.

Located in Luoyang’s Yichuan County, the Xuyang Cemetery is a tomb cluster belonging to ancient Rong migrants. It is the first discovery of Rong remains in the central plains.

Excavation work at the cemetery started in 2013, with 150 tombs dug up so far, including 12 large and medium-sized ones. Archaeological excavation of the cemetery is underway.

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