Archaeologists uncover tomb of ancient female ‘prime minister’ in China

Archaeologists uncover tomb of ancient female ‘prime minister’ in China

Archaeologists in China have discovered the burial chamber of a 7 th century ‘prime minister’ , who was one of the most powerful women in China’s ancient history.

The finding was made in the northern province of Shaanxi and was confirmed by an inscription on the tomb, which displayed ochre-coloured earth, arched passageways and a number of ceramic horses. However, no gold or silver treasures, or complete bones, had been found at the site and there was evidence of significant damage, suggesting a “large-scale, organised” and possibly “official destruction,” said Geng Qinggang, a Shaanxi-based researcher.

The female politician, named Shangguan Wan’er, lived from 664 to 710 in the Tang dynasty and was a trusted aide to China’s first empress Wu Zetian .

She married Wu’s son, while having relationships with both the ruler’s lover and her nephew. As a sequence of murders, coups and affairs enveloped the dynasty, Shangguan Wan’er’s husband Li Xian briefly became emperor — only to be killed by his senior wife, who took power herself.

She was deposed in turn by Li Longji, who killed both her and Shangguan Wan’er.

The discovery of the tomb with the epitaph has been cited as a finding of major significance in the study of the Tang Dynasty.

    Ancient genomes uncover Irish passage tomb dynastic elite

    Archaeologists and geneticists, led by those from Trinity College Dublin, have shed new light on the earliest periods of Ireland's human history.

    Among their incredible findings is the discovery that the genome of an adult male buried in the heart of the Newgrange passage tomb points to first-degree incest, implying he was among a ruling social elite akin to the similarly inbred Inca god-kings and Egyptian pharaohs.

    Older than the pyramids, Newgrange passage tomb in Ireland is world famous for its annual solar alignment where the winter solstice sunrise illuminates its sacred inner chamber in a golden blast of light. However, little is known about who was interred in the heart of this imposing 200,000 tonne monument or of the Neolithic society which built it over 5,000 years ago.

    The survey of ancient Irish genomes, published today in leading international journal, Nature, suggests a man who had been buried in this chamber belonged to a dynastic elite. The research, led by the research team from Trinity, was carried out in collaboration with colleagues from University College London, National University of Ireland Galway, University College Cork, University of Cambridge, Queen's University Belfast, and Institute of Technology Sligo.

    "I'd never seen anything like it," said Dr Lara Cassidy, Trinity, first author of the paper. "We all inherit two copies of the genome, one from our mother and one from our father well, this individual's copies were extremely similar, a tell-tale sign of close inbreeding. In fact, our analyses allowed us to confirm that his parents were first-degree relatives."

    Matings of this type (e.g. brother-sister unions) are a near universal taboo for entwined cultural and biological reasons. The only confirmed social acceptances of first-degree incest are found among the elites -- typically within a deified royal family. By breaking the rules, the elite separates itself from the general population, intensifying hierarchy and legitimizing power. Public ritual and extravagant monumental architecture often co-occur with dynastic incest, to achieve the same ends.

    "Here the auspicious location of the male skeletal remains is matched by the unprecedented nature of his ancient genome," said Professor of Population Genetics at Trinity, Dan Bradley. "The prestige of the burial makes this very likely a socially sanctioned union and speaks of a hierarchy so extreme that the only partners worthy of the elite were family members."

    The team also unearthed a web of distant familial relations between this man and other individuals from sites of the passage tomb tradition across the country, including the mega-cemeteries of Carrowmore and Carrowkeel in Co. Sligo.

    "It seems what we have here is a powerful extended kin-group, who had access to elite burial sites in many regions of the island for at least half a millennium," added Dr Cassidy.

    Remarkably, a local myth resonates with these results and the Newgrange solar phenomenon. First recorded in the 11th century AD, four millennia after construction, the story tells of a builder-king who restarted the daily solar cycle by sleeping with his sister. The Middle Irish place name for the neighbouring Dowth passage tomb, Fertae Chuile, is based on this lore and can be translated as 'Hill of Sin'.

    "Given the world-famous solstice alignments of Brú na Bóinne, the magical solar manipulations in this myth already had scholars questioning how long an oral tradition could survive," said Dr Ros Ó Maoldúin, an archaeologist on the study. "To now discover a potential prehistoric precedent for the incestuous aspect is extraordinary."

    The genome survey stretched over two millennia and unearthed other unexpected results. Within the oldest known burial structure on the island, Poulnabrone portal tomb, the earliest yet diagnosed case of Down Syndrome was discovered in a male infant who was buried there five and a half thousand years ago. Isotope analyses of this infant showed a dietary signature of breastfeeding. In combination, this provides an indication that visible difference was not a barrier to prestige burial in the deep past.

    Additionally, the analyses showed that the monument builders were early farmers who migrated to Ireland and replaced the hunter-gatherers who preceded them. However, this replacement was not absolute a single western Irish individual was found to have an Irish hunter-gatherer in his recent family tree, pointing toward a swamping of the earlier population rather than an extermination.

    Genomes from the rare remains of Irish hunter-gatherers themselves showed they were most closely related to the hunter-gatherer populations from Britain (e.g. Cheddar Man) and mainland Europe. However, unlike British samples, these earliest Irelanders had the genetic imprint of a prolonged island isolation. This fits with what we know about prehistoric sea levels after the Ice Age: Britain maintained a land bridge to the continent long after the retreat of the glaciers, while Ireland was separated by sea and its small early populations must have arrived in primitive boats.

    This work was funded by a Science Foundation Ireland/Health Research Board/Wellcome Trust Biomedical Research Partnership Investigator Award to Dan Bradley and an earlier Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Scholarship to Lara Cassidy.

    Egypt: How archaeologists made shock discovery near ancient tomb – ‘creme de la creme’

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    Egypt: Archaeologist reveals HEART of vizier was found

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    Tony Robinson was in Deir el-Bahari near the city of Luzor in Egypt for the filming of Channel 5&rsquos new series &ldquoOpening Egypt&rsquos Great Tomb&rdquo. He visited a tomb buried beneath the rocks which archaeologists had determined to belong to one of the highest ranking officials to serve the pharaoh of the Twelfth Dynasty, Mr Robinson revealed how they uncovered the remains of the vizier Ipi inside 56 separate jars.

    Related articles

    He said on June 6: &ldquoWhile we may not have his mummy, the story of Ipi is far from over.

    &ldquoIn fact, there has been the most grisly of discoveries.

    &ldquoTowards the end of last season, the archaeologists had a great find in what looks like a discreet pit right next to where they have their breakfast.

    &ldquoThese 56 pots are all waste material from Ipi&rsquos body, all the cloths, all the gore and all the blood from when he was mummified.

    Tony Robinson revealed the find during his Channel 5 show (Image: CHANNEL 5)

    The team found 56 pots filled with the remains of a high ranking officer (Image: CHANNEL 5)

    The creme de la creme &ndash is the heart of the Vizier Ipi

    Tony Robinson

    "Nothing tinged with Ipi&rsquos bodily fluid could be thrown away.

    &ldquoSo stained bandages and embalming materials were chucked in these pots and stored just outside the tomb &ndash until now.&rdquo

    However, Mr Robinson went on to explain how one discovery made recently topped them all.

    Archaeologists managed to uncover the heart of this ancient prime minister completely in tact.

    Mr Robinson added: &ldquoOne of the big tasks this season is to scour through these 56 pots and already they&rsquove had what is my favourite find since I&rsquove been in Egypt.

    Related articles

    &ldquoOkay, so, these are some of the finds out of the big jars.

    &ldquoNow that was the bandage that went around Ipi&rsquos mummy.

    &ldquoThis what looks like a white tablecloth was the wrapping around the mummy.

    &ldquoAnd this &ndash yes &ndash this is Ipi&rsquos blood &ndash it is like a horror film isn&rsquot it?&rdquo

    &ldquoBut the creme de la creme &ndash is the heart of the Vizier Ipi.&rdquo

    Archaeologists found a heart inside one of the pots (Image: CHANNEL 5)

    A close-up of the heart believed to have belonged to Ipi (Image: CHANNEL 5)

    The find comes after archaeologists made an equally remarkable find in the town of Al-Jarf.

    Pierre Tallet and his team uncovered the journal of a man named Merer, who had the title of &ldquoinspector&rdquo and was in charge of stone transportation from the quarry to Giza.

    It was revealed during Channel 4&rsquos &ldquoEgypt Great Pyramid: The New Evidence&rdquo how Khufu used elite teams of workers with different tasks to complete his vision for the Great Pyramid.

    The narrator detailed in 2017: &ldquoThe papyrus shows that Khufu divided his workers into teams with clear responsibilities and targets.

    Archaeologists discover ‘Elixir of Immortality’ in ancient Chinese tomb

    A bronze pot of mysterious liquid dating back over a thousand years has been found inside a tomb in China.

    According to legend, the ‘potion’ uncovered during excavations in central China’s Henan Province last year may be an ‘elixir of immortality’ capable of bestowing immortal life upon whoever drinks it.

    ‘It is the first time that mythical ‘immortality medicines’ have been found in China,’ said Shi Jiazhen, head of the Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology in Luoyang, China.

    ‘The liquid is of significant value for the study of ancient Chinese thoughts on achieving immortality and the evolution of Chinese civilization,’ Shi told the Xinhua news service.

    The strange, yellowish liquid was found inside a 210 square-metre tomb in the city of Luoyang. The team of archaeologists that found the liquid said it gave off a strong aroma – like rich wine. At first they thought they had found some kind of liquor.

    ‘There are 3.5 litres of the liquid in the colour of transparent yellow,’ Shi said in November of last year when it was discovered. ‘It smells like wine’.

    But subsequent analysis in a lab showed that it wasn’t ageing booze, instead it was a mixture of potassium nitrate and alunite. According to ancient Taoists texts, alunite and potassium were ingredients for an ‘elixir of life’ that would grant unnatural longevity.

    Researchers said that these kinds of potions were very much a feature of the ancient Western Han Dynasty – but their poisonous ingredients would often have the opposite effect.

    It’s not clear whether or not this particular elixir has ever been consumed – or whether it was just left inside the tomb as a ritual burial object.

    Archaeologists uncover tomb of ancient female ‘prime minister’ in China - History

    History and Archaeology of Early China

    Bibliography of Selected Archaeological Sites

    Yaoshan 瑤山 cemetery
    Yaoshan 瑤山 , Yuhang 余杭 , Zhejiang
    (excavated 1987)

    Zhejiang Sheng wenwu kaogu yanjiusuo 浙江省文物考古硏究所 . Yaoshan 瑤山 . Beijing: Wenwu, 2003.

    1. Chang, Kwang-chih. "China on the Eve of the Historical Period," in Cambridge History of Ancient China, 37-73 (esp. 60-66).
    2. James, Jean M. "Images of Power: Masks of the Liangzhu Culture." Orientations 22.6 (1991): 46–55. DS 501 O73 FAL

    Erlitou 二里頭 site
    Erlitou 二里頭 ,Yanshi 偃師 , Henan
    (excavated 1959-present)

    Zhongguo shehui kexue yuan kaogu yanjiusuo 中國社會科學院考古硏究所 . Yanshi Erlitou: 1959 nian-1978 nian kaogu fajue baogao 偃師二 里 頭 : 1959 年 -1978 年考古發掘報告 . Beijing: Zhongguo dabaike quanshu, 1999.

    1. Bagley, Robert. "Shang Archaeology," in Cambridge History of Ancient China, 124-231 (esp. 158-165).
    2. Chang, Kwang-chih. Archaeology of Ancient China. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1986 (esp. 307-317). DS 715 C38 PCL
    3. Childs-Johnson, Elizabeth. "Symbolic Jades of the Erlitou Period: A Xia Royal Tradition." Archives of Asian Art 48 (1995): 64-92. N 7260 A68 FAL.
    4. Fitzgerald-Huber, Louisa G. "Qijia and Erlitou: The Question of Contacts with Distant Cultures." Early China 20 (1995): 17-67.
    5. Liu, Li 'The Products of Minds as Well as of Hands': Production of Prestige Goods in the Neolithic and Early State Periods of China. Asian Perspectives 42.1 (2003): 1-40. DS 514 A78 PCL.
    6. Liu, Li. "Settlement Patterns, Chiefdom Variability, and the Development of Early States in North China. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 15 (1996): 237-288. C 79 E85 J68 PCL.
    7. Liu, Li, "Special Report : On the Chronology of the Three Dynasties." The Ancient East Asia Website (
    8. Liu, Li and Xingcan Chen. "Cities and Towns: The Control of Natural Resources in Early States, China." Bulletin of the Museum of Far Eastern 73 (2001): 5-47. DS 714 S7 PCL.
    9. Shelach, Gideon. "Social Complexity in North China During the Early Bronze Age: A Comparative Study of the Erlitou and Lower Xiajiadian Cultures. Asian Perspectives 33.2 (1994): 261-292. DS 514 A78 PCL.
    10. Thorp, Robert L. "Erlitou and the Search for the Xia." Early China 16 (1991): 1-38.
    11. Zheng, Guang. “The Relationship between the Remains at Erlitou and the Early Bronze
      Age Civilization in China.” In The Beginnings of Metallurgy in China, Katheryn M. Linduff et al, 215-22. Chinese Studies 11. Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen, 2000.

    Fu Hao 婦好 tomb (M5)
    Yinxu 殷墟 , Anyang 安陽 , Henan
    (excavated 1928-present)

    Li Ji 李濟 , ed. Anyang fajue baogao 安陽發掘報告 . 4 vols.Taibei: Nantian, 1978. DS 793 A577 A572 PCL.

    Zhongguo shehui kexue yuan, kaogu yanjiusuo 中國社會科學院考古研究所 . Yinxu de faxian yu yanjiu 殷墟的發現與研究 . Beijing: Kexue, 1994 (Not a site report, but a comprehensive survey).

    1. Bagley, Robert. "Shang Archaeology." In Cambridge History of Ancient China, 124-231 (esp. 180-208).
    2. Ebrey, Patricia Buckley. "Shang Tomb of Fuhao." In A Visual Sourcebook of Chinese Civilization (internet site:
    3. Chang, Kwang-chih. "The Shang Society from An-yang." In Shang Civilization, 67-135. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1980.
    4. Chang, K[wang-]C[hih], ed. Studies of Shang Archaeology: Selected Papers from the International Conference on Shang Civilization. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1986. DS 744 I57 PCL.
    5. Haapanen, Minna. "The Royal Consort Fu Hao of the Shang." In The Human Tradition in Premodern China, ed. Kenneth J. Hammond, 1-13. The Human Tradition around the World, no. 4. Wilmington, Del.: Scholarly Resources, 2002.
    6. Childs-Johnson, Elizabeth, ed. and tr. "Excavation of Tomb No. 5 at Yinxu, Anyang." Chinese Sociology and Anthropology 15.3 (1983). HM 1 C45 PCL.
    7. Fong, Wen C. ed. The Great Bronze Age of China­­: An Exhibition from the People’s Republic of China, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1980. NK 7983.22 N48 FAL .
    8. Li, Chi. Anyang Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1977. DS 796 A55 L5 PCL.
    9. Li, Chi. The Beginnings of Chinese Civilization: Three Lectures Illustrated with Finds at Anyang. Seattle, University of Washington Press, 1957. 913.31 L612B PCL
    10. Linduff, Katheryn. "Women’s Lives Memorialized in Burial in Ancient China at Anyang." In In Pursuit of Gender: Worldwide Archaeological Approaches, ed. Sarah Milledge Nelson and Myriam Rosen-Ayalon, 257-88. Gender and Archaeology Series 1. Walnut Creek, Calif.: Rowman & Littlefield, Altamira, 2002. CC 72.4 I5 PCL.
    11. Shen, Chen. Anyang and Sanxingdui: Unveiling the Mysteries of Ancient Chinese Civilizations. Toronto: Royal Ontario Museum, 2002.
    12. Thorp, Robert L. China in the Early Bronze Age: Shang Civilization. Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006. DS 744.2 T46 2006 PCL.
    13. Thorp, Robert L. "The Archaeology of Style at Anyang: Tomb 5 in Context." Archives of Asian Art 41 (1988): 47-69. N 7260 A68 FAL.
    14. Wang, Ying. "Rank and Power among Court Ladies at Anyang." In Gender and Chinese Archaeology, ed. Katheryn M. Linduff, and Yan Sun, 95-113. Gender and Archaeology Series 8. Walnut Creek, Calif.: Rowman & Littlefield, Altamira, 2004.

    Wei 微 lineage hoard (J1)
    Zhuangbai 莊白 , Fufeng 扶風 , Shanxi
    (excavated 1976)

    Yin Shengping 尹盛平 , ed. Xi Zhou Wei shi jiazu qingtongqi qun yanjiu 西周微氏家族青銅器青銅器群研究 . Beijing: Wenwu, 1992.

    1. *Hsu, Cho-Yun and Katheryn M. Linduff. Western Chou Civilization. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988 (esp. 289-302). DS 747 H79 PCL .
    2. Falkenhausen, Lothar von. "Ritual Music in Bronze Age China: An Archaeological Perspective." Ph.D. dissertation. Harvard University, 1988.
    3. Rawson, Jessica. "Western Zhou Archaeology," in Cambridge History of Ancient China, 352-449 (esp. 390-93). DS 741.5 C35 PCL..
    4. Rawson, Jessica. Western Zhou Ritual Bronzes from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections. Washington: Arthur M. Sackler Foundation Cambridge: Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Harvard University, 1990 (esp. vol. 1, 19-21). NK 7983.2 R39 FAL.
    5. Shaughnessy, Edward L. "Toward a Social Geography of the Zhouyuan during the Western Zhou Dynasty: The Jing and Zhong Lineages of Fufeng County." In Political Frontiers, Ethnic Boundaries and Human Geographies in Chinese History, ed. Nicola Di Cosmo and Don J. Wyatt, 16-34. London and New York : RoutledgeCurzon, 2003. GF 41 P65 PCL.
    6. Shaughnessy, Edward L. "Western Zhou Hoards and Family Histories in the Zhouyuan." In Chinese Archaeology: New Perspectives on China's Past in the Twentieth Century, ed. Xiaoneng Yang, 1: 255-67. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004. DS 715 N486 FAL.
    7. Shaughnessy, Edward L. "Zhouyuan Oracle-Bone Inscriptions: Entering the Research Stage?" Early China 11-12 (1985-1987): 146-194.
    8. *Wu Hung, Monumentality in Early Chinese Art and Architecture (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995), 77-99. N 7343.2 W8 FAL.

    Tomb of Marquis Yi of Zeng (Zeng Hou Yi mu 曾侯乙墓 )
    Leigudun 擂鼓墩 , Suixian 隧縣 , Hubei
    (excavated 1978)

    Zeng Hou Yi mu 曾侯乙墓 . ed. Hubei sheng bowuguan 湖北省博物館 and Zhongguo shehui kexueyuan, kaogu yanjiusuo 中國社會科學院考古研究所 . 2 vols. Beijing: Wenwu, 1989.

    1. Archaeological Excavation Team, Sui Xian Leigudun. "Tomb I. Brief Excavation Report of the Tomb of Marquis Yi Zeng at Sui Xian, Hubei," trans. Robert L. Thorp. Chinese Studies in Archaeology 1.3 (1979-1980) 3-45. DS 715 C46 PCL.
    2. Ebrey, Patricia Buckley. "Eastern Zhou tomb of the Marquis Yi." In A Visual Sourcebook of Chinese Civilization (internet site: ).
    3. Falkenhausen, Lothar von. "The Zeng Hou Yi Finds in the History of Chinese Music." In Music in the Age of Confucius, ed. Jenny F. So, 101-13. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian, 2000. ML 462 W33 A78 FAL.
    4. Thorp, Robert L. "The Sui Xian Tomb: Rethinking the Fifth Century." Artibus Asiae 43 (1981-82): 67-110. N 8 A75 FAL.
    5. Wang, Zichu. "The Musical Instruments and Human Sacrifices in the Tomb of Marquis Yi of Zeng." China Archaeology and Art Digest 3.2/3 (1999) 105-116.

    Baoshan 包山 Tomb M2
    Baoshan 包山 , Jingmen 荊門 , Hubei
    (excavated 1992-2001)

    Baoshan Chu mu 包山楚墓. Ed. Hubei Sheng Jingsha tielu kaogudui 湖北省荊沙鐵路考古隊. 2 vols. Beijing: Wenwu, 1991.

    1. *Cook, Constance A. Death in Ancient China: The Tale of One Man’s Journey. China
      Studies 8. Leiden: Brill, 2006. GT 3283 J53 C66 PCL.
    2. Harper, Donald. "A Chinese Demonology of the Third Century B.C." Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 45.2 (1985): 459-98. DS 501 H3 PCL & online.
    3. WANG Baoxuan. "A Discussion of the Composition Dates of the Various Guodian Chu
      Slip Texts and Their Background, With a Discussion on the Dating of the Guodian and
      Baoshan Tombs." Contemporary Chinese Thought 32.1 (2000): 18–42. B 1 C55 PCL.
    4. Weld, Susan. "Chu Law in Action: Legal Documents from Tomb 2 at Baoshan."
      In Defining Chu: Image and Reality in Ancient China, ed. Constance A. Cook and John S. Major, 77-97. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 1999. DS 741.65 D44 PCL.

    Guodian 郭店 Tomb M1 (and related manuscript finds)
    Guodian 郭店 , Jingmen 荊門 , Hubei
    (unearthed ca. 1993)

    Jingmen shi bowuguan 荊門市博物館 . "Jingmen Guodian yihao Chumu" 荊門郭店一號楚墓 . Wenwu 文物 1997.7: 35-48. DS 715 W44 PCL.

    1. Allan, Sarah and Crispin Williams, eds. The Guodian Laozi: Proceedings of the International Conference, Dartmouth College, May 1998. Early China Special Monograph Series 5. Berkeley: Society for the Study of Early China and Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, 2000.
    2. Boltz, William G. "The Fourth-Century B.C. Guodiann Manuscripts from Chuu and the Composition of the Laotzyy." Journal of the American Oriental Society 119.4 (1999): 590-608. PJ 2 A6 PCL.
    3. Boltz, William G. "Liijih ‘Tzy i' and the Guodiann Manuscript Matches." Und folge nun dem, was mein Herz begehrt: Festschrift für Ulrich Unger zum 70. Geburtstag. Ed. Reinhard Emmerich et al. Hamburger Sinologische Schriften 8. Hamburg, 2002. I, 209-21.
    4. Boltz, William G. "Manuscripts with Transmitted Counterparts." In New Sources of Early Chinese History: An Introduction to the Reading of Inscriptions and Manuscripts, ed., Edward L. Shaughnessy, 253-83. Berkeley: Society for the Study of Early China and the Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley, 1997.
    5. Bumbacher, Stephan Peter. "The Earliest Manuscripts of the Laozi Discovered to Date." Asiatische Studien/Etudes Asiatiques 52.4 (1998): 1175-85. DS 1 A54 PCL.
    6. Cook, Scott. "Consummate Artistry and Moral Virtuosity: The 'Wu xing' 五行 Essay and Its Aesthetic." Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews 22 (2000): 113-46 PL 2250 C533 PCL.
    7. Cook, Scott. "The Debate over Coercive Rulership and the ‘Human Way' in Light of Recently Excavated Warring States Texts." Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 64.2 (2004): 399-440. DS 501 H3 PCL & online.
    8. Cook, Scott. Review of The Guodian Laozi: Proceedings of the International Conference, Dartmouth College, May 1998, ed. Sarah Allan and Crispin Williams. China Review International 9.1 (2002): 53-65. Stacks DS 706 C51115 PCL.
    9. Falkenhausen, Lothar von. "Social Ranking in Chu Tombs: The Mortuary Background of the Warring States Manuscript Finds." Monumenta Serica 51 (2003): 439-526. DS 701 M6 PCL.
    10. Giele, Enno. "Early Chinese Manuscripts: Including Addenda and Corrigenda to New Sources of Early Chinese History: An Introduction to the Reading of Inscriptions and Manuscripts." Early China 23-24 (1998-99): 247-337. DS 701 E17 PCL.
    11. Giele, Enno. "Using Early Chinese Manuscripts as Historical Source Materials." Monumenta Serica 51 (2003): 409-438. DS 701 M6 PCL.
    12. Harper, Donald. "The Conception of Illness in Early Chinese Medicine as Documented in Newly Discovered 3rd and 2nd Century B.C. Manuscripts." Südhoffs Archiv für Geschichte der Medizin und der Naturwissenschaften 74 (1990): 210-35.
    13. *Holloway, Kenneth W. Guodian: The Newly Discovered Seeds of Chinese Religious and Political Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. Z 6605 C5 H66 PCL.
    14. Ikeda, Tomohisa. "Symposium I: Aspects of Pre-Qin Culture Seen from Chu Slips." Kokusai tōhō gakusha kaigi kiyō 國際東方學者會議紀要 44 (1999): 98-105. CB 253 I5 PCL.
    15. Ikeda, Tomohisa et al. "Bibliography of Books and Articles on the Ch'u Bamboo Strips from Kuo-tien." Acta Asiatica 80 (2001): 72–88. DS 12 A45 PCL.
    16. Liu, Xiaogan. "From Bamboo Slips to Received Versions: Common Features in the Transformation of the Laozi." Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 63.2 (2003): 337-82. DS 501 H3 PCL & online.
    17. Pines, Yuri. "Friends or Foes: Changing Concepts of Ruler-Minister Relations and the Notion of Loyalty in Pre-Imperial China." Monumenta Serica 50 (2002): 35-74. DS 701 M6 PCL.
    18. Pines, Yuri. "Lexical Changes in Zhanguo Texts." Journal of the American Oriental Society 122.4 (2002): 691-705. PJ 2 A6 PCL.
    19. Szabó, Sándor P. "The Term shenming—Its Meaning in the Ancient Chinese Thought and in a Recently Discovered Manuscript." Acta Orientalia 56.2-4 (2003): 251-74. PJ 1 A4 PCL.
    20. Taniguchi, Mitsuru. "Ch'u Bamboo Slips from the Warring States Period and the Historical Geography of the Ch'u State." Acta Asiatica 80 (2001): 27-40. DS 12 A45 PCL.
    21. Xing, Wen. "The Guodian Chu Slips: The Paleographical Issues and Their Significances." Contemporary Chinese Thought 32.1 (2000): 7–17. B 1 C55 PCL.
    22. Yi, Sŭng-ryul. "The View of Loyal Ministers in the Ch'u Bamboo-Slip Lu Mu-kung wen Tzu-ssu from Kuo-tien." Acta Asiatica 80 (2001): 52–71. DS 12 A45 PCL.

    Mausoleum of the First Emperor of Qin ( 秦始皇帝陵園 )
    Lintong 臨潼 , Shaanxi

    1. Cotterell, Arthur. The First Emperor of China: The Greatest Archeological Find of Our Time. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1981. DS 747.9 C47 C67 PCL .
    2. Thorp, Robert. "An Archaeological Reconstruction of the Lishan Necropolis." In The Great Bronze Age of China: A Symposium, ed. George Kuwayama, 72-83. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1983. NK 7983.22 G73 FAL .
    3. Sima Qian. "The First Emperor of Qin." In The Grand Scribe's Records, ed. William H. Nienhauser, Jr., 1: 127-77. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994. DS 741.3 S6813 PCL .
    4. Kesner, Ladislav. "Likeness of No One: (Re)presenting the First Emperor's Army. Art Bulletin 77.1 (1995): 115-132. N 11 C4 FAL.

    Tomb of Lady Dai 軚 (M1)
    Mawangdui 馬王堆 , Changsha 長沙 , Hunan

    Hunan sheng bowuguan 湖南省博物館 and Zhongguo kexueyuan kaogu yanjiusuo 中國科學院考古研究所 Changsha Mawangdui yi hao Han mu 長沙馬王堆一號墓 . 2 vols. Beijing: Wenwu, 1973. DS 796 C4 H85 PCL.

    1. *Buck, David. "Three Han Dynasty Tombs at Ma-wang-tui." World Archaeology 7.1 (1975): 30–45. 913.05 W893 PCL & online.
    2. Chow, Fong. "Ma-wang-tui: A Treasure Trove from the Western Han Dynasty." Artibus Asiae 35.1-2 (1973): 5-24. N 8 A75 FAL.
    3. Lai, Guolong. "The Diagram of the Mourning System from Mawangdui." Early China 28 (2003): 43-99. DS 701 E17 PCL.
    4. Qian, Hao. "The Han Tombs at Mawangdui, Changsha: Underground Home of an Aristocratic Family." In Out of China's Earth: Archeological Discoveries in the People's Republic of China, ed. Qian Hao, Chen Heyi, and Ru Suichu, 87-125. New York: H. N. Abrams, 1981. DS 715 Q513 PCL.
    5. *Wu Hung. "Art in a Ritual Context: Rethinking Mawangdui." Early China 17 (1992): 111-144. Available from instructor.

    Tomb of Liu Sheng 劉勝
    Mancheng 滿城 , Hebei

    Zhongguo shehui kexue yuan kaogu yanjiusuo 中國社會科學院考古研究所 and Hebei sheng wenwu guanli chu 河北省文物管理處 . Mancheng Han mu fajue baogao 滿城漢墓發掘報告 . 2 vols. Beijing: Wenwu, 1980. DS 793 M25 M28 PCL.

    Archaeologists unveil marble female statues inside huge ancient tomb in northern Greece

    This photo released on Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014 by the Greek Culture Ministry shows two approximately life-sized female statues on a wall leading to a yet unexplored inner room of a huge underground ancient tomb, in Amphipolis, northern Greece. The tomb dates between 325 B.C. — two years before the death of ancient Greek warrior-king Alexander the Great — and 300 B.C. Archaeologists have also discovered two large marble sphinxes on the facade of the barrel-vaulted tomb, which was originally topped by a marble lion on a high plinth. It is not yet known who the tomb was built for, although Alexander himself was buried in Egypt. (AP Photo/Culture Ministry) (The Associated Press)

    In this photo released on Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014 by the Greek Culture Ministry, excavation staff work between two approximately life-sized female statues on a wall leading to a yet unexplored inner room of a huge underground ancient tomb, in Amphipolis, northern Greece. The tomb dates between 325 B.C. — two years before the death of ancient Greek warrior-king Alexander the Great — and 300 B.C. Archaeologists have also discovered two large marble sphinxes on the facade of the barrel-vaulted tomb, which was originally topped by a marble lion on a high plinth. It is not yet known who the tomb was built for, although Alexander himself was buried in Egypt. (AP Photo/Culture Ministry) (The Associated Press)

    This graphic released on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014 by the Greek Culture Ministry, shows what Greek archaeologists have unearthed so far, working slowly and laboriously in a vast 4th Century BC underground tomb in Amphipolis, northern Greece, dating from the end of the reign of ancient Greek warrior-king Alexander the Great. Clockwise from top right, the photos show two headless, wingless marble sphinxes above the entrance to the barrel-vaulted tomb - which was originally blocked by a large wall - details of the facade and the lower courses of the blocking wall, the antechamber's mosaic floor, a 4.2-meter long stone slab whose lower surface was painted in blue, red and gold that is the sole survivor of several which originally roofed the first chamber, the upper uncovered sections of two female figures that decorated the wall opening onto the second chamber and was also blocked off, and the highest section of that wall that was found with a hole in its top left-hand corner. The second chamber and a third, not pictured, to the left, have not yet been explored. Archaeologists believe that, despite extensive signs of forced entry during antiquity, the tomb has not been plundered. The structure is 6.5 meters high inside, and was covered by a large earthen mound originally capped by a stone lion statue on a large plinth. There is no indication so far of who it was built for, with theories ranging from a senior military commander of Alexander's to a member of his family. Alexander himself, who died in 323 BC after carving out an empire from modern Greece to India, was buried in the city of Alexandria in Egypt, which he founded. (AP Photo/Culture Ministry) (The Associated Press)

    ATHENS, Greece – Archaeologists slowly digging through a huge 2,300-year-old tomb in northern Greece have uncovered two life-sized marble female statues flanking the entrance to one of three underground chambers.

    A Culture Ministry statement says the statues show "exceptional artistic quality." Their upper sections were discovered last week, but their bodies — in semi-transparent robes — emerged after part of a blocking wall was removed Thursday.

    The excavation, on a hillock near ancient Amphipolis, 600 kilometers (370 miles) north of Athens, has gripped Greece for a month, since Prime Minister Antonis Samaras visited it and pre-empted archaeologists by releasing details on the findings.

    A media frenzy ensued amid speculation that the tomb may contain buried riches and the remains of an eminent figure.

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    Ancient Chinese Murals Saved From Tomb Robbers

    A colorful, well-preserved "mural tomb," where a military commander and his wife were likely buried nearly 1,500 years ago, has been uncovered in China.

    The domed tomb's murals, whose original colors are largely preserved, was discovered in Shuozhou City, about 200 miles (330 kilometers) southwest of Beijing. Researchers estimate that the murals cover an area of about 860 square feet (80 square meters), almost the same area as a modern-day bowling lane.

    Most of the grave's goods have been looted, and the bodies are gone, but the murals, drawn on plaster, are still there. In a passageway leading into the tomb, a door guard leans on his long sword watching warily. Across from him, also in the passageway, is a guard of honor, supported by men on horses, their red-and-blue uniforms still vivid despite the passing of so many centuries. [See Pictures of the Ancient Mural Tomb]

    Inside the tomb itself, the man and woman who had been interned are depicted enjoying a banquet while sitting under a canopy. A man plays a tall harp while two other musicians hold windpipe instruments. At the tomb's entranceway, another mural shows four men blowing into long horns.

    In addition to the commander's wife there are a number of females depicted in the tomb. Some of them are attendants and a few appear to be musicians (one of them carrying a windpipe instrument). The archaeologists note that all the females, including the wife, are depicted with their hair in the shape of a "flying bird."

    Another scene features a tall red horse ready to be mounted. In another scene is a carriage pulled by a tan ox and driven by two men, each with black hair and curly beards (possibly foreigners).

    And then there is the dome itself, which shows how the ancient Chinese viewed the heavens.

    "The domed ceiling is painted uniformly in dark gray color to signify the infinite space of the sky. The Silver River (representing the Milky Way) flows across the sky from the southwest to the northeast, and inside the river are fine fish-scale patterns representing waves in the water," wrote archaeologist Liu Yan, who reported the discovery, in translated English, in the most recent edition of the journal Chinese Archaeology. A longer version of the article, written in Chinese, was published earlier in the journal Wenwu.

    Yan notes that, on either side of this Silver River, white dots represent the stars, alongside representations of the moon and sun, with the sun bearing a "gold crow" at its center. Supernatural beings and zodiac animals are depicted below this sky map.

    Tomb raiders

    The tomb was uncovered in a salvage excavation in 2008. Yan said that the tomb had been robbed three times before he got to it, and most of the grave goods, including the bodies, were gone. In fact, the thieves were making preparations to steal the murals, too, but the authorities arrived just in time to stop the theft.

    "Tomb robbers had already made preparations for removing the murals. The blue lines that were drawn to divide the murals into sections for cutting and the gauze fabric used for reinforcing the murals before detachment still remain on the surface of the walls," Yan wrote. [Maya Murals: Stunning Images of King]

    When authorities discovered the tomb, a team of scholars from several Chinese antiquities institutions began excavating the site and conserving the murals. Based on these murals and the tomb design, along with a few remaining grave goods, the scientists determined the tomb dates back nearly 1,500 years, to the Northern Qi Dynasty.

    A military commander

    Archaeologists believe the couple buried at the site consisted of a military commander, in charge of the Shuozhou City area, and his wife. This makes sense given the date of the tomb.

    Historians know that at the time this couple lived, three rival dynasties battled for control of China. The buried commander served the Northern Qi, a short-lived dynasty that lasted between A.D. 550 and 577, when it was conquered by another group of rulers known as the "Northern Zhou."

    Needless to say, military leaders were in high demand at this time, and military experience was the key to obtaining power.

    "The Zhou and Qi states both exemplified military dynasticism," Stanford University professor Mark Edward Lewis wrote in his book "China Between Empires: The Northern and Southern Dynasties" (Harvard University Press, 2009). "Their rulers had risen through military service and based their powers on a central army," he writes.

    In such an environment, it appears, a local military commander could afford a finely decorated tomb for the afterlife.

    Ancient China: Lost City With Pyramid and Human Sacrifices Is Rewriting History

    The remains of Shimao, an ancient walled settlement in today's northern China, is revolutionizing archaeologists' understanding of the country's history, scientists reported in the journal Antiquity.

    Academics studying the ruins reported that the area once was home to a bustling metropolis surrounding a giant step pyramid dating back some 4,300 years. Home to trade, religion and even human sacrifice, the city was likely once part of the "political and economic heartland" of what is now China, the authors wrote.

    Stone buttresses lined each of the pyramid's 11 steps. Eyes and human-like faces adorned the structure, symbols previously found in much later settlements in the country's Central Plain. The remains of a water reservoir, roof tiles, pillars and domestic items suggest that elite residents used the top of the structure as their home. Parts of the pyramid, which stood at least 230 feet tall, were likely used for crafts like metalworking.

    Visible from the surrounding homes, the pyramid likely "provided a constant and overwhelming reminder to the Shimao population of the power of the ruling elites residing atop it," the authors wrote, calling the structure "a concrete example of the 'social pyramid.'"

    Researchers used to think Shimao was just a section of the nearby Great Wall of China, but recent excavations suggest it's more than two millennia older, LiveScience said. At one square mile at its peak, it was "not only the largest walled settlement of its time in ancient China, but was also among the largest centers in the world," researchers wrote in Antiquity.

    The city's stone buildings are embedded with jade, which, the team wrote, might represent the religious and ritual power of the site. The green stone also signals the economic importance of the city. The researchers believe the jade artefacts, sourced from miles around, show that Shimao was likely a hub for trade.

    But it wasn't all peace and prosperity for the city, with scientists reporting practiced human sacrifice "on a massive scale." Archaeologists have found decapitated heads in pits around Shimao, Archaeology noted. Ramparts, bastions and barbicans were probably erected in defense of the city, the research team wrote.

    This once great city, the authors argued, shows that the surrounding area was sold short in the past as peripheral to the more "civilized" Central Plain of China. They wrote, "Analysis and comparison of new archaeological data. have revealed a highly complex society, the political and economic heartland, and possibly the most powerful [organized society], of the territory of what is today China."

    An image of the two buried individuals was painted on the north wall of the tomb chamber. At right is the male, believed to be a local military commander, and at left is his wife. They are seated under a canopy enjoying a banquet. To the right of the depiction of the buried male are male musicians and attendants. To the left of his wife are female musicians and attendants. Notice that all the females have their hair tied in the same style, a shape described by archaeologists as looking like a "flying bird."

    The male musicians to the right of the depiction of the buried male. One is playing a large harp while to his left a musician in blue holds a windpipe instrument.

    Watch the video: Idu li reklame, ajmo na pljugu