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18 ancient tombs unearthed in N China
SHIJIAZHUANG, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- Chinese archaeologists have unearthed 18 ancient tombs while working on a south-to-north water diversion project in Xingtai City in north China's Hebei province.
The tombs were found in Xiqianliu village, in Xingtai's Qiaoxi District, Li Enwei, chief of the city's cultural heritage bureau, said Wednesday.
Li said 16 of the tombs dated back to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and contained about 100 pieces of porcelain, tiles and copper coins. The other two tombs date back to the Yuan Dynasty (1206-1368 A.D.) and had apparently been robbed of all their valuables. [When? That is the question. We all know that lots of discoveries are not being reported to the authorities and the artifacts taken are ending up on the illegal antiquties market.]
"We excavated an area of 500 square meters around the reservoir area in the village in December," Li said.
Before these tombs were unearthed last month, Li said archeologists had already discovered 104 ancient tombs along the water diversion route in Xingtai, he said. "These ones spanned the Warring States Period (475 B.C.-221B.C.) to the Qing Dynasty."
The ambitious project to divert water from China's south to the arid north runs for 93.3 kilometers in Xingtai city and passes 97 villages and 14 major heritage sites.
Archeological excavations began in August 2009 to preserve the cultural heritage.
Li and his colleagues believe the new findings will shed light on local history and folk customs such as funeral rites.
Editor: Li Xianzhi