The excavation of the Haihunhou (Marquis of Haihun) tomb in Jiangxi province has come to an end, with several new discoveries announced during a press conference on Sunday.
The press conference was held by the Jiangxi Provincial Propaganda Department, Jiangxi's Department of Culture and Jiangxi's Cultural Relics Bureau.
A large number of gold cakes were unearthed from the Haihunhou tomb. [Photo/Chinanews.com]
The Haihunhou tomb is the most well-preserved Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 24) cemetery, with the most integrate structure, distinct layout and complete sacrificial system.
After five years of excavation, over 10,000 pieces of precious relics were unearthed, including bronze wares, gold and silver wares, jade wares, bamboo slips and inscribed wooden tablets.
"Archeologists and cultural relic conservation experts are cleaning the sludge having been covered for over 2,000 years, to achieve more historical information. They are also restoring the broken ceramics and bronze wares to showcase to the public", Chi Hong, the head of Jiangxi's Department of Culture said.
The main coffin of Liu He has been cleaned
As Chi Hong revealed, the body remains of the tomb owner Liu He can vaguely be seen in the inner coffin, with gilded lacquer boxes buried with the dead. Beside the body, from the head to the belly of the remains, a jade pillow, jade pendant, jade sword and other jade items can be seen, as well as a jade seal with the name "Liu He" at the waist.
The remains of Liu He are on a gilded glass mat, with teeth still intact and 100 pieces of gold cakes under the glass mat.
So far, the number of gold wares unearthed from the Haihunhou tomb has reached 478, the largest in China's archeological history. By technological analysis of X-Ray imaging, delicate agate beads, gilded bronze boxes and jade-decorated bronze plaques were also discovered in the remaining lacquer boxes in the coffin.
The excavation site of the Haihunhou tomb [Photo/Chinanews.com]
Over 5,000 bamboo slips are taken out
After arduous work, archeologists have successfully stripped more than 5,000 bamboo slips, and through infrared scanning, the dimmed handwriting is becoming clear. By initial interpretation, contents from ancient books such as The Analects of Confucius, The Book of Changes, The Book of Rites, and Medical Book can be seen on the bamboo slips.
Chi Hong said that the bamboo scripts will be further solidified, cleaned and scanned, and the preliminary protection and data extraction work will be finished before the end of 2016. Further interpretation and research will start next year.
Marquis Haihun was the title given to Liu He (92 BC-59 BC) after he was dethroned. Liu's reign lasted only 27 days, the shortest among Western Han monarchs. He lost his throne because of his debauchery and licentious lifestyle.
Nevertheless, he was allowed to reside near Boyang Lake and the title of marquis remained with his family for three generations.