Mysteries buried for thousands of years are finally unveiled in the daylight. Coded M40, the biggest and the highest graded tomb at the Dongdazhangzi tomb site is inspiring guesses and helping to make discoveries. With the excavation half complete, experts are sorting out clues to make it clear for whom this tomb was built.
The Warring States period is a designation for a era in Chinese history before the first empire Qin. The tomb, dating back to that chaotic time, lies in the State of Yan, the most northern of seven competing states in China. Researchers believe the tomb is probably located in what was the capital of one of the Yan state's northern counties, as a burial site of this magnitude is unlikely to have been build in the countryside.
Hua Yubing, deputy director of Liaoning Archaeology Inst., said, "The owner of this tomb must have a big title, at least a high-ranking official."
The tomb site is located on the north side of the Great Wall, which used to be the artificial border of Han people and northern nomads. Yet, it is constructed in Han style.
Hua Yubing said, "Earth hole, tomb path, two outer coffins and one inner one. It's the style of ancient Han, a presentation of hierarchy. To be more specific, the style of the state of Yan."
However, it is not that simple. Over 70 animal bones have been excavated, a typical character of the locals of north-east China at that time. Alongside the bones, grave artefacts also include bronze swords, a ring-handled sword and agate rings, all fruits of the Han civilization.
Hua Yubing said, "No matter who the owner of the tomb is, he managed to blend in the other culture and make a good combination."
And historical records have been refreshed by this discovery.
Wang Wei, dir. archaeology inst. from Chinese Academy of Social Science, said, "Few are known in history. This area was originally out of Yan's reign. But later Yan's general Qin Kai, defeated the nomads and conquered this land. This tomb helps understand better the society at that time."
There used to be a saying in archaeological circles that no pre-Qin archaeology stood outside the Great Wall. Now that rule-of-thumb has been broken.
Even it is never known for whom this tomb was built, history has already been refreshed.