In China, archaeologists have presented new finds made in recent months during excavations at the site of the ancient capital of Sanxingdui. In the sacrificial pits, they discovered incredibly valuable artifacts that will add to the collection of national treasures.
According to CGTN, the finds were made in Sichuan province in southwestern China. Back in the 1920s, the ruins of the city of Sanxidui, which was the first capital of the ancient kingdom of Shu, were discovered there.
Excavations have been going on since 1986, when archaeologists discovered two sacrificial pits filled with treasures. Last year, the most ambitious excavations were carried out, about a dozen sacrificial pits with one and a half thousand artifacts were found.
And now archaeologists have announced that they have managed to excavate six more previously unknown sacrificial pits. They found about 500 fully and fragmentarily preserved relics of great historical and material value.
Suffice it to say that most of the finds are exquisite gold masks, jade and ivory items, and bronze artifacts. Taking into account last year's findings, the Sanxidui Treasury has been replenished with more than 2,000 items. Among them, for example, there is a unique sacred tree made of bronze.
In general, for the entire period of excavations in the ancient capital of the first kingdom in China, about 10,000 cultural relics were found, the age of which is from 3,000 to 5,000 years. It is believed that the kingdom of Shu itself arose about 5,000 years ago.
Archaeologists report that during the recent work, very rare and valuable large bronze vessels were discovered, some of which, after examination, are likely to receive the status of national treasures. The fact is that some of these bronze items have a unique shape, which researchers have never seen before.
Numerous items made of ivory and jade are no less exciting finds. A significant part of them were in only one sacrificial pit. It is noteworthy that there were no bronze items in this pit, which indicates some special traditions that existed during the reign of Shu.
Thus, archaeologists have unearthed jade tablets, which are designated by the term "zhang", and four jade "dzao" - a tool that resembles a modern chisel. The researchers note that many other types of jade artifacts found are also unique in their kind, since there are simply no analogues known to them.
For example, an intact jade smoking pipe was found that was square in shape but with a round hole in it. Also found are jade "yuan" (jade ring), jade "bi" (flat jade disc) and jade "bin" (jade adze).
In general, according to archaeologists, 478 almost completely preserved cultural relics and 141 fragments of various artifacts were recovered from six excavated sacrificial pits. The main mass is made of ivory products. Bronze items rank second in terms of quantity. Among the artifacts, there are also two ceramic items.
According to preliminary estimates, the age of the newly found objects is from 2966 to 3148 years, that is, they belong to the late period of the Shang dynasty. The treasures have already been sent to the Sichuan Provincial Cultural Relic Protection Center, where work is underway to clean and restore them.