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1,000-year-old tomb of couple excavated in China

In central China, archaeologists discovered a 1,000-year-old tomb for a couple who were interred together and had a window carved out of the partition wall to maintain their relationship in the afterlife.

The couple was discovered at the historic Tangjiawan cemetery in Ningxiang, Hunan province, lying on the tiled floor of their brick-lined grave with their heads resting on a tile cushion.

Two skeletons were found in this tomb at the ancient Tiangjiawan cemetery near Ningxiang, Hunan province, central China

Along with the remains, which are believed to have been interred during the Northern Song Dynasty, many pieces of pottery were also found (960 to 1127 AD). Rarely do ancient Chinese tombs have the “fairy bridge” or hole in the wall.

According to national publications China Daily and People’s Daily, their remains were discovered in the tomb but have since been removed.

Prior to preparations to go through the site for the Ningxiang-Shaoshan road, archaeologists started excavating the burial. Vehicle access is anticipated to begin in 2022.

Excavators had first found the tombs in 2007, but were asked to excavate it this year due to the construction of a motorway which is set to plough through the ancient burial ground

Yang Ningbo, the site’s principal archaeologist, said that it was unusual to come across a pair with a ‘fairy bridge’ erected in between them.

Its foundation is an age-old notion that the window would enable the pair to reunite in the afterlife.

A rusted nail used to seal the tomb was also found buried in the mud beside the tomb. The couple are believed to have been buried during the region’s Northern Song Dynasty, a period of major population expansion

The possibility is presented by the charcoal found outside the tomb’s entrance.

He said that radiocarbon dating would enable them to determine the couple’s possible burial date by more precisely dating the artifacts.

The few burial goods imply that the deceased were ordinary citizens who only owned the most basic possessions.

However, the fact they were buried with them and in a stone tomb implies they may have had access to some riches.

Pottery piled up at the side of the tomb is shown. Cross marks have also been cut into the bricks used for the tomb

It was one of seven tombs that the Hunan Provincial Research Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology researched after discovering them in a group at Nanfentang Village.

An other tomb that was discovered there belonged to the Eastern Han Dynasty, which lasted from AD 25 to 220. It included only 13 items, including an iron kettle and stand.

It was asserted that the cooking tools are comparable to those used to make a hotpot, a typical Chinese dish.

Following the discovery of a quickly ripening variety of rice, the Northern Song Dynasty oversaw a period of high population development in mainland China and established a number of trade routes.

Pictured above is the tiled pillow that one of the grave occupants would have lain on. Two bits of pottery are also visible
A separate tomb nearby yielded an iron cauldron and stand which archaeologists said would have been used to make a traditional Chinese dish called ‘hot pot’ at the time

After the Tang dynasty fell in 960 AD, Emperor Taizu formed the dynasty, with Kaifeng serving as its capital.

The dynasty is responsible for the development of both a more potent form of gunpowder and mobile printing presses, which revolutionized European communication in the 15th century.

The Song court had tried to make peace with outsiders, but its Mongol neighbors, commanded by Kublai Khan, had repeatedly attacked.

Ten years after Marco Polo arrived in Beijing in 1266 AD, when he met the Mongol leader who had already taken over control of the majority of the dynasty, it fell ten years later.

Jackson White

Thank you for coming to The Ancientzen. My name is Jackon White, and I'm glad to have you here with us today. It's a dream come true for me to be able to research and write about history all day long.

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