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HomeNewsNew discoveries
A Group of Tang Tombs were Found in Li County, Hebei Province, N China
From:Chinese Archaeology  Writer:  Date:2014-11-06
To cooperate with the infrastructure, from July to August in 2014, Hebei Provincial Cultural Relics Institute in conjunction with Baoding City Heritage Management Office, Li County Cultural Relics Preservation Office conducted a salvage archaeological excavation to eight Tang tombs. 
 
This group of tombs is located in Li County, Hebei Province, North China, all of them are small scale tombs with 2.5 meters deep under the surface. The excavation area is 541 square meters, among the unearthed grave goods, 40 pieces of them are restorable. 
 
There are four types of tomb structures: round brick-chambered tomb with tomb passage, ship-shaped tomb with tomb passage, ship-shaped tomb without tomb passage and coffin shaped tomb without tomb passage.  
 
The round brick tombs with tomb passage (M1, M3, M6, M18) are all consist of three parts: tomb passage, tomb corridor, and tomb chambers, and “凹”shape brick coffin platforms appeared at the bottom of the chambers. 
 

articles combination from tomb M1
 
M1 is a brick-chambered tomb whose tomb pit appeared “凸”shape, with neat and straight walls, from north to south 5.24 meters, from east to west 3.52 meters (the maximum point). The step type tomb passage is located in the center of southern part of the coffin pit, and then the brick arch door and the arch corridor appeared successively, with a semi-circled plane and a dome. As for the upper opening and bottom of the tomb, from north to south are 1.6 meters and 1.92 meters wide respectively, from east to west are 2.3 meters and 2.64 meters long respectively (the maximum point). The residual height of the tomb chamber is 0.92 meter. At the north of coffin platform, the extended burial was found, with two human bones piled up, but without funeral furniture. Funeral objects were found in the center of the bottom of the tomb door; the north of the tomb corridor; the northwestern and southeastern parts of the coffin platform and the waist part of the human bones.     


tri-color censer from tomb M18
 
M3 is also a brick-chambered tomb, with oval plane, straight walls and even bottom, from north to south 3.04 meters, from east to west 3.44 meters long. The tomb passage is located in the center of southern part of the tomb pit, and then the brick arch door and the arch corridor appeared successively, with a semi-circled plane, which from the north to south is 1.92 meters, from east to west is 2.36 meters long, and the residual height is 1 meter. Two human bones were lying alongside in the middle of the coffin platform, with bad preservation status, but without funeral furniture. Funeral objects were found at the bottom of the tomb corridor; the place above the dead’s head and neck, waist.   


photo of tomb M6


bronze mirror from tomb M6
 
M6 is also a brick-chambered tomb whose tomb pit appeared “凸” shape, with neat and straight walls, from the north to south 5 meters, from east to west 2.74 meters, and flat bottom. The step type tomb passage is located in the center of southern part of the tomb pit, and then the brick arch door and the arch corridor appeared successively, with a semi-circled plane, which from east to west is 2.04 meters, from the north to south is 1.58 meters, and the residual height is 1.44 meters. Two human bones were found at the north of the coffin platform, with bad preservation status, but without funeral furniture. Funeral objects were found at the place above the head of dead and inside the filling earth of the corridor.


photo of tomb M2


articles combination from tomb M2
 
Ship-shaped tomb with tomb passage, M2 and M17
M2 is a brick single-chambered tomb with ship shape, round angels and straight walls, from north to south 5.4 meters, from east to west 1.4 meters (the maximum point). The step type tomb passage is located in the center of southern part of the tomb pit, and the door is arch shaped. The plane of the chamber appears ship shape, whose south end is wider than the north one. The walls, top and bottom of the chamber were all paved with bricks. The bottom is 2.76 meters long, the south and north end are 0.8 meter and 0.48 meter wide respectively, and the height is 0.4 meter. On the bricks of bottom, a human bone was found, extended burial, but without funeral furniture. All funeral objects were found at the place above the head of the dead. 


photo of tomb M5
 
Ship-shaped tomb without tomb passage, M5
M5 is a brick single-chambered tomb with ship shape, rounded rectangular with straight walls, 3 meters long, 1.4 meters wide and 0.6 meter deep (the maximum point). The east and west walls of the tomb pit extended, and the north and south ends appeared swallowtail shaped, so the characteristic of ship is obvious. The south end of the chamber is wider than the north one, from north to south is 2.36 meters long, and the width of the middle, south end and north end are 0.94 meter, 0.58 meter and 0.48 meter respectively. A human bone was found at the bottom, with bad preservation status, extended burial with head facing south. 


tri-color censer from tomb M4
 
Coffin shaped tomb without tomb passage, M4
M4 is a brick single-chambered tomb with coffin shape, rounded rectangular with neat walls, 1.08 meters long, 1.08 meters wide and 0.7 meter deep, with flat bottom. Inside the tomb pit, the chamber was paved with bricks, whose south end is wider than the north one. The bottom is 2.14 meters long, the south and north end are 0.64 meter and 0.40 meter wide respectively, and the depth is 0.4 meter. A human bone was found in the chamber, with good preservation status, extended burial with head facing south. Funeral objects were found at the place above the dead’s head. 
 
Altogether porcelain (including white glazed bowls, yellow glazed bowls, yellow glazed jars, and etc.), glazed pottery (including tri-colored and tri-foot censer), pottery (including clay red jar, Yu vessel, gray plate made of clay, jars and vases), copperware (including marine animal grape mirror, hairpins, tongue-shaped belt buttons and “Kaiyuan Tongbao” coins), ironware (including cooking vessels named Jiaodou and scissors), as well as lacquer ware debris, bone combs, clam shells and etc. were unearthed from these 8 tombs. 
 
This group of tombs is a large scale Tang tombs found in Baoding area in recent years. According to the analysis of the structures of the tombs and funeral objects, this group of tombs belongs to civilians, with three different types: reinter burials, couple joint burials and single burials. This group of tombs provides important data for the periodization of the Tang tombs in northern Hebei Province, and significance for researching the cultural factors, burial regulations and customs of Tang tombs in the north.    (Translator: Wang Jue)

 
 
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