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80,000 relics from Old Summer Palace reclaimed | Updated: 2017-10-11 17:00

More than 80,000 relics from the Old Summer Palace have been reclaimed from demolished buildings in the surrounding areas, Beijing Morning Post reported on Tuesday.  

The items include stones and bricks that once formed the walls of the palace. 

The Old Summer Palace, built in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), was ransacked and destroyed by British and French expeditionary forces during the Second Opium War (1958-60). 

The palace, which was reduced to ruins, was left abandoned and the stones from its walls were used in the construction of houses by local residents.

"The stones and bricks that have been used in house construction may not be as impressive as looted artifacts, but we are obligated to retrieve relics, whether they are precious pieces taken to foreign countries or ordinary bricks that were once part of the palace," said Chen Hui, director of cultural relics and archaeology for the palace

"Even a brick that has no exquisite engraved patterns belongs to the palace and reflects its history."

The communities around the palace have been undergoing demolition work in response to urban planning requirements in the past few years. The palace administration office took the opportunity to set up a relic reclamation team in 2015, to unearth artifacts from the foundations of houses.

Reclaimed items are being stored in two warehouses and a new exhibition zone for them is expected to open to the public within the year.

Cheng Si contributed to this story.

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