Archaeologists Discover China's Crazy Rich Family Tomb In His Day


The excavations carried out by archaeologists for two years finally paid off. Found a 3,000-year-old cemetery containing the tombs of a wealthy Chinese clan long ago.

The site in Anyang, Henan province, China, according to the Anyang Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, is thought to have been home to a clan called "Ce" during the Shang dynasty.

This clan cemetery was found just 2.4 kilometers from the ancient capital Yinxu, where the ruins of the palace and ancestral temple are located. The archaeological site contains 18 building foundations, 24 tombs, four horse and carriage pits, and a number of very intact remains, including jade and stone items, and bronze items bearing the character "Ce."

"In the bone inscriptions, there are records of the 'Ce' clan," said Kong Deming, director of the Anyang Institute of Cultural Relics and Archeology, referring to the earliest form of Chinese writing, where characters are carved on animal bones.

"The 'Ce' clan crest appears on many of the bronzes found at this site. So we believe that the 'Ce' clan is active in this area."

One of the largest tombs at the site appears to have been robbed, leaving only a few objects, such as pieces of pottery, to be found.

Photo: Anyang . Institute of Cultural Heritage and Archaeology

But in another pit, archaeologists found tools made of bone and seashells, as well as more than 20 sets of bronze ritual vessels such as chalices, cauldrons and "jue" used to serve warm wine during ceremonies.

Archaeologists also found six carriages, as well as the remains of several horses and people believed to have been buried alive, a common practice during the Shang dynasty, especially for those of high status such as members of the royal family.

Many of these remains bear lavish decorations indicating that the clan was extremely wealthy. Some of the buried people were found wearing hats with shell straps, and the heads of their horses were decorated with gold.

"This is very rare among Anyang's ancient finds, which reflects the extraordinary status and power of the carriage owner," Kong said.

Other finds at the site include stairs in front of the building's foundations and decorative remains of the inner walls, providing clues as to how Shang dynasty homes were built and designed.

Researchers believe that the courtyard and tomb were built at the end of the dynasty that ended in 1046 BC and ushered in Bronze Age China.

The cemetery, most likely has been restored and reused many times, but was abandoned after the Shang was overthrown. Researchers are still trying to ascertain the social status of the "Ce" clan, how the community was structured and whether they had any ties to the dynasty's royal family.

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