News and Announcements

Northern Wei imperial altar discovered in Inner Mongolia

In Inner Mongolia's Wuchuan County 武川县, archaeologists have discovered a Northern Wei imperial altar that was probably constructed between 430-490 CE. This is the first time that a Northern Wei imperial altar has been found. The site was discovered in the 1980s, but its excavation only began in 2019. The altar was used by Northern Wei emperors to perform sacrifices to Heaven, or 天. At the site, archaeologists have uncovered the remains of a round building; its interior diameter is 15.5 meters, while its exterior diameter is 32.5 meters. Within the building remains a small amount of sacrificial pottery has been found. Two round pens for holding sacrificial animals have also been identified. The excavating archaeologists believe the site shows the influence of both steppe and Chinese traditions of offering sacrifices.

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Tuvan Cemetery reveals evidence on violence in the Early Common Era in a nomadic community

From a cemetery in the Republic of Tuva in Southern Siberia, archaeologists have unearthed the skeletons of 87 individuals from lived between the 2nd to fourth century CE. An analysis of the skeletons determined that 25% died of violence. Most probably due to hand-to-hand combat. There was also evidence of which ritualist violence, such as scalping and throat-slitting.

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Millward - Reading the Tabghach “Ballad of Mulan” in 2020

James Millward has written a great, balanced historical article on the "Ballad of Mulan" for #AsiaNow.

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Rouran-period Excavation in Mongolia

A 4,000 foot high cave burial in Mongolia contained an almost perfectly preserved wooden saddle. The burial also had a compound bow, arrowheads, a leather quiver with an iron hook, and a wooden vessel. Archaeologists believe, based on carbon dating, that the burial dates to the middle of the fourth to fifth century, or perhaps the beginning of the sixth century. They believe that the person buried in the tomb who was accompanied by a horse was a Rouran warrior.

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Oldest Horseshoe in China Discovered at a Xianbei Site

At a Sarbi (Xianbei) site in Inner Mongolia's Tongliao city, archaeologists have excavated a settlement site, where they discovered a horseshoe. It is the oldest horseshoe found in the confines of modern-day China. The site has the remains of two buildings and over ten ash pits. They yielded many pottery sherds, ironware, stone objects, and animal bones. Many of the pottery pieces were decorated with patterns that have images of horses, yurts? (毡帐), and the sun.

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219 Eastern Han-Six Dynasties Tombs Excavated in Jintang County, Sichuan

In Jintang County, Sichuan, archaeologists excavated 219 tombs that date from the late Eastern Han through the Six Dynasties. The majority date to the Western and Eastern Jin. Most of the tombs are small or medium size. Usually the tombs are grouped two or three together, which probably mean each group belongs to an individual family. An interesting grave good is a glass earring. Since Sichuan doesn't produce glass it had to come from somewhere else. Perhaps it was a good that came by way of the Maritime Silk Road.

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Discovery of Bamboo/Wooden Strip Documents in Yuyao

In Yuyao, Zhejiang, for the first time, archaeologists have excavated an Eastern Han, Southern Dynasties site that had documents written on bamboo and wooden strips. The site is in a low-lying area. Upon excavation, archaeologists discovered that during the Eastern Han and Six Dynasties that the site was along the river channel. What they found were wooden constructions meant to create levees meant to protect the embankments, as well as ten ash pits. Most spectacularly they discovered a wooden slip with writing on both sides, a mugu 木觚 slip, as well as a fengjian "wooden envelope." The mugu slip has 150 characters on it. The document which dates to 74 CE states that an envoy for the Heavenly Deity 天帝 asks the earth god (社君) to provide good fortune and health to a district official named Sun Shaobo 孙少伯. Many thanks to Dai Weihong for this citation.

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Three Tombs from the Han-Three Kingdoms Period Excavated in Hunan

In the Heshan 赫山 District of Hunan's Yiyang city, archaeologists excavated three tombs: one which was a brick chambered tomb, another was a pit tomb, and a third was a pit tomb with cave chambers. This last tomb M3 was the best preserved and unique. M3's tomb passage was made like a stairway, while the tomb's two chambers were fashioned in the style of caves. The tomb had 18 grave goods, including 8 pieces of well-preserved celadon vessels. This is the first time a cave-chamber tomb has been found in Yiyang, and is a type of tomb that is very rare in Hunan, but it is common in the north. This has led the excavating archaeologists to speculate that the deceased was a northerner who moved to Yiyang late in the Eastern Han or during the Three Kingdoms period. The deceased used the burial customs of his/her native place, but was interred with local grave goods.

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47 Tombs Discovered in Yongzhou dating from the Han to Tang

 In Hunan's Yongzhou city, archaeologists discovered 47 ancient tombs, 20 of which were brick-chambered tombs, while 27 were vertical pit tombs. Seven of the brick-chambered tombs were excavated: one dated to the Eastern Han, one to the Six Dynasties, one to the Sui, and four to the Tang. An important feature of these tombs is that they had bricks with dates on them. The grave goods of the single-chamber Eastern Han tomb (M485) include pottery and coffin nails. The tomb has three bricks inscribed with the date of 146 CE. The inscription reads, “本初元年(公元146年)合宜子.” Tomb (M484) is also a single-chamber tomb, which is comparatively small and has been looted. Its grave goods include largely fragmented porcelain vessels, wuzhu coins and silver vessels. Two of its bricks are inscribed with the date of 604 “大业四年大." So it dates to the Sui. Since these tombs are small and their grave goods few, they probably belonged to commoners.

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Two Han-Jin Brick Chamber Tombs Found in Hunan

In Hunan's Zixing City 资兴市, two brick chamber tombs that date either from the Eastern Han or the Western or Eastern Jin were excavated; more than 30 artifacts were found in them. One of the tombs that probably belonged to a male had 23 artifacts, which included bronzeware, porcelain, pottery vessels, and an iron knife. One artifact of note found within was a well-preserved bronze cauldron used for cooking. This type of cauldron was a common southern cooking utensil during this period. These tombs belonged to a rich household.

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Publication: David Chai, ed., Dao Companion to Xuanxue

Offers a comprehensive introduction to the principal figures of Neo-Daoism and their contributions

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Call for Papers: EMCG Annual Conference

Please visit our conference webpage for submission information

Liu Bei's Palace in Chengdu

Archaeologists think they have discovered the site of Liu Bei's palace in Chengdu.  It was always thought to be somewhere on Wudanshan 武但山, but archaeologists think they have discovered remanants of it in the Tianfu Plaza (天府廣場).

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Rich 1,500 year old Non-Han burial found in Inner Mongolia

In Inner Mongolia, archaeologists excavated a 1,500 year old cemetery.  One of the unearthed tombs had a coffin with a silk-covered body of a woman.  Also within the tomb was a silver vessel that depicts four Greek gods.  In addition, the deceased was wearing a gold headband, necklace, belt, and finger rings.  The excavating archaeologists believe that the cemetery belonged to a tribal chief of the Gaoche people.  

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Discovery of the Fugan temple ruins in Chengdu

In Chengdu, archaeologists have discovered the remains of the famous Fugan temple 福感寺,which was founded in the Eastern Jin. Among the artifacts found there are more than a thousand tablets with Buddhist sutras inscribed on them, as well as over five hundred pieces of Buddhist stone statues.

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