Nearly 3,000-year-old ancient state found in north China province
Updated: 2006-01-14 10:20
BEIJING, January 14 (Xinhua) -- A small ancient state dating back nearly
3,000 years, which was never recorded in historical documents, has been
discovered in north China's Shanxi Province.
Archaeologists deduced the existence of the previously unknown state, Peng,
from inscriptions on bronzeware excavated from two ancient Western Zhou Dynasty
tombs (1100 BC-771 BC).
The owners of the two tombs, discovered in Hengshui Town of Jiangxian County
in Shanxi Province, were the ruler of the state, Pengbo (meaning Count of Peng
State), and his wife.
Li Boqian, director of the archaeological research center of the prestigious
Beijing University, said at an archaeological forum recently in Beijing that the
discovery of the Western Zhou graves in Hengshui is the most important
archaeological discovery since the excavation of the graves of the Marquis of
Jin, another state of the Western Zhou Dynasty, in Quwo County of Shanxi
The newly found ancient state will help archaeologists and historians better
understand the history of the Western Zhou Dynasty and its jurisdiction, Li
More than 80 tombs have been excavated at the site in Hengshui, with the
tombs of Pengbo and his wife the largest ones. The couple were buried side by
side with lots of funeral objects such as bronzeware, carriages and jade, said
Song Jianzhong, deputy director of the Institute of Archaeology of Shanxi
One of the most important findings in the graves is the remains of a pall
covering the coffins. The remains of the pall, already blended with earth after
several thousand years, are still a vivid red color. Phoenix patterns can be
seen on the pall, said Song.
"This is the oldest, best preserved and largest tomb decoration object so far
discovered in China," said Song.
A total of 16 pieces of bronze were unearthed from the two tombs. The
inscriptions on the bronze show that one of the tombs belonged to Pengbo and the
other to his wife.
"Ding" bronzeware was a symbol of power and status in the Western Zhou
Dynasty. Archaeologists noted that five pieces of Ding were found in Pengbo's
wife's tomb, and only three in Pengbo's tomb.