From May to July in 2016, Jinan Municipal Institute of Archaeology conducted an archaeological exploration and excavation to the tomb in the East of Xunjian village, unearthing 31 small-scaled tombs, including 16 earthen shaft pit tombs, 10 cave-chamber tombs, 1 tomb with brick outer coffin, 4 tombs with brick chamber.
top view of the excavated area at Xunjiancundong cemetery
Earthen shaft pit tombs were the majority, scattered distributed, some of which were laid in pairwise parallel, seemed to be the couple joint tomb in different pit. Most of the tombs were heading to the north.
Inside tomb M1, there was a stone masonry dual-chamber with niche, covered by slate. According to the grave goods, it could be dated to the early period of Qing dynasty.
The tomb M9 has a row soil second-tier platform which is covered by a slate, a trapezoid coffin was laid at the bottom. Inside the coffin, burnt bones were concentrated displayed, with a celadon bowl at the south, which could be dated to the Jin and Yuan dynasty.
The rest earthen shaft pit tombs also had second-tier platforms, and half of which had niches. Most of the tombs had an inner coffin and an outer coffin, only a few had burial objects boxes. Human bones were badly preserved; recognized ones were all extended supine position burials. Few burial objects were found, mainly were pottery jar, pottery pot, bronze mirror, bronze coin, animal bone, etc, which were dated to the early and middle period of the Western Han dynasty.
The cave-chamber tombs consisted of tomb passageway, tomb gate and tomb chamber. All the passageways were shaft-well, slightly sloped at the bottom, heading to the south. All the tomb gates were arched, the plane shape of the bottom were divided into oblong and nearly trapezoidal; flat bottom with arched wall or straight wall with arched top. The cave-chamber tombs included single burial and double burial, with wooden coffins. Few burial objects were unearthed, mainly porcelain bowl, porcelain jar, porcelain lamp, copper coin and etc, which were dated to Jin and Yuan dynasty, Ming dynasty and Qing dynasty respectively. Inside tomb M4, imitating architectural roof, rows of tile and wall were carved in the raw soil wall, painted black as well as white lines (seemed to be brick joint), there were also imitating wooden structure carved in the upper parts of the gate.
The brick outer coffin tomb M30 was rectangular in plane, had straight wall, flat bottom and a raw soil second-tier platform. A niche was set up at the southwest corner of the platform, and a pottery jar was laid inside of it. According to the ash trace, there was a plank which covered at the top of the outer coffin before. Inside the outer coffin, there was an inner coffin with human bones inside, extended burial, heading to the north. According to the pottery jar, the tomb was speculated to the late period of the Warring States.
The brick-chamber tombs were all heavily destroyed, including single-chamber and multi-chambers, all had tomb passageway. The thickness of the paved bricks could be divided into three different levels, character “人” shaped or staggered joint-shaped. The bricks on the wall were built in the mode of flemish bond (yishunyiding) or monk bond (liangshunyiding). Most of the unearthed objects were green-glazed red pottery ear cup, desk (An), disc, spoon, vessel Zun, lamp and etc; a few were grey pottery jar, copper coin and etc. According to the burial shape and structure as well as the unearthed objects, the tomb was speculated to be the late period of the Eastern Han dynasty; while M24 which chamber paved with brick and arced outward dated to Wei and Jin dynasties.
The burial shape and structure and unearthed objects of this excavation was nearly the same of those of the excavation in the north of Shandong province, which was dated to the Warring States and Han dynasties, Jin and Yuan dynasties, Ming and Qing dynasties; enriching the burial data in Jinan area. Especially, tomb M30, was one
Of the earlier tombs with brick outer coffin in Shandong area; Tomb M24 (brick chamber wall arced outward) and tomb M4 (a cave-chamber tomb with imitating wooden structure carved on the raw soil wall) were uncommon to find in Jinan area, which providing new materials for studying the tomb structure and burial customs, society and history of the period listed above in Jinan area. (Translator: Wang Jue)