A turtleshell-shaped box and a sacrificial altar are among a treasure trove of 13,000 relics dating back over 3,000 years discovered by archaeologists in southwest China.
The relics – many made of gold, bronze and jade – were unearthed in six sacrificial pits at the Sanxingdui archaeological site, near Chengdu, Chinese state media reported Monday, June 14, 2022.
Historians know relatively little about the Sanxingdui culture, which left behind no written records or human remains, though many believe it to be part of the ancient kingdom of Shu. It’s hoped the latest finds will shed light on the kingdom, which ruled in the western Sichuan basin along the upper stream of the Yangtze River until it was conquered in 316 BC.
A joint team of archaeologists from Sichuan Provincial Cultural Relics and Archaeology Research Institute, Peking University, Sichuan University and other research institutions have been excavating the six pits at the site since 2020.
In the most recent excavation, archeologists found 3,155 relatively intact relics, including more than 2,000 bronze wares and statues, China’s state news agency Xinhua reported.
New finds from the past
Researchers described a turtleshell-shaped box made of bronze and jade as among their more intriguing finds, saying it was the first time they had uncovered such an item.
“It would not be an exaggeration to say that the vessel is one of a kind, given its distinctive shape, fine craftsmanship and ingenious design. Although we do not know what this vessel was used for, we can assume that ancient people treasured it,” Li Haichao, a professor at Sichuan University, told Xinhua.
A bronze altar nearly 3-feet tall (0.9 meters) was also found in one of the pits, where people of the click here to read the rest of this article