Chinese archaeologists have discovered an unidentified cluster of tombs on the Pamirs Plateau, unveiling a new mystery on the crossroads of the ancient Silk Road.
Eights tombs, each two meters in diameter, were arranged on a 100-meter-long and 50-meter-wide terrace, with lines of black stones and lines of white stones stretching alongside like rays, according to the archaeology team with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences that found the tombs in Xinjiang's Taxkorgan Tajik Autonomous County, a border region neighboring Afghanistan and Pakistan, in October.
"The tombs are peculiar. No similar ones had been detected before on the Pamirs Plateau, or even in all of Central Asia," team captain Wu Xinhua said, adding that the discovery shows a gap between their knowledge and studies, and previous findings along the Silk Road.
Wu believes that the ray-like stone strings might imply sun worship, but he admitted his assumption lacked sufficient evidence.
But the archaeology team is quite certain that people buried in the tombs had dignified social statuses as the black stones were carried from afar and the terrace for the tomb platform would have been a rare land resource in the area.
Located at the intersection of eastern and western cultures, the tomb cluster could reflect a deep historical background, Wu said.
A local archaeologist said local nomads spotted an additional three similar tomb clusters in the township where the archaeology team discovered the tombs with ray-like stones.