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Ancient royal 'limousine' excavated in central China

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-07-28 20:19
ZHENGZHOU -- Archaeologists have found a "limousine" once owned by the Lord of Zheng State dating back 2,400 years, after five months of excavation in Xinzheng City, Central China's Henan province.

The giant, extravagant chariot, which is 2.56 meters long and 1.66 meters wide, was equipped with rain and sun protection on the top and decorated with bronze and bone ornaments.

It has more than 26 spokes in each wheel, which indicated the owner's noble status.

The "limousine" was excavated in a funerary pit in tomb of Lords of Zheng State, a vassal state during the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC) and the Warring States Period (475-221 BC).

"The chariot is the largest and most extravagant one so far in the excavation site," said Ma Juncai, leader of an archaeological team with Henan Provincial Institute of Cultural Heritage and Archaeology.

"The 'limousine' was comfortable and spacious. People could stand, sit or lie in it. It was the best public vehicle used by lords of Zheng State and their wives," Ma said.

Archaeologists found four chariots in a pit, which all headed west, toward their founding capital. Ma explained that the state was founded in Huaxian County of northwest China's Shaanxi Province.

They are cleaning the third chariot. Its left wheel was damaged by tomb robbers.

"There are more horses than chariots in the pit. The excavation is expected to complete in September," he said.

"The new discovery can provide significant evidence for the study on science and technology, production and civilization of the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period," Ma said.

The excavation of Zheng State tombs and the surrounding 20 hectares of land has already found 18 horse and chariot pits and more than 3,000 tombs.
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