Archaeology Magazine Archive

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Astonishing Discovery in Henan Volume 56 Number 1, January/February 2003
by Jarrett A. Lobell


At least 18 pits containing horse-drawn carriages were found in the tomb. (Fan Xinya/ImagineChina) [LARGER IMAGE]

The largest royal tomb in China has been discovered by archaeologists in Henan Province. The 115-foot-long tomb dates from the Zheng State of the Spring and Autumn period (Eastern Zhou Dynasty, 770-475 B.C.) and was built in the shape of the Chinese character "zhong," meaning "middle." About one-half of the tomb has been excavated so far, and no fewer than 18 pits containing the remains of fancy horse-drawn carriages (including the horses) have been uncovered, along with lavish jade and metal mortuary objects. The high quality of the tomb's contents, as well as its location within an area known to be a royal cemetery, has led archaeologists to the conclusion that the tomb belonged to a king of the Zheng State, although which king has not yet been determined.

© 2003 by the Archaeological Institute of America