Buried under the soil of central China, an elegant brick tomb lay forgotten. Dust collected on the ornate carving as decades stretched into centuries. Then a construction project came along.
While doing construction on a pipeline in Yuanqu County of Shanxi province, workers stumbled upon a tomb, the Shanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology said in a joint release with an archaeology blogger shared on Weibo.
Archaeologists were brought in to rescue the site and uncovered a stunning tomb from the Jin Dynasty, the Institute of Archaeology at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said in a March 15 news release via China News Network.
The 800-year-old tomb was crafted entirely out of carved bricks, and no paint was used. The grave had a stepped passageway leading through a corridor and into the main burial chamber, archaeologists said in the joint release.
The main chamber was a square room about 11 feet tall. Three skeletons were found together along one wall. Experts identified the remains as a child between 6 and 8 years old and as two men between 50 and 60 years old, the joint release said.
Every wall of the chamber was filled with intricate carvings, photos show. The entrance way connected to the south wall, the institute said. The carvings around this doorway mimicked lattice windows.
Straight ahead from the doorway, the north wall had a carving of the tomb’s owner and his wife, the institute said. Photos show the ornate building-like structure carved on the wall. The carving almost looks like it was crafted out of wood.
The east and west walls are filled with more carving of lattice doors and windows, the institute said. Photos show how these walls almost seem to mirror each other.
The top of the chamber curves inward with a skylight opening in the center. Photos show the view looking straight up from the center of the room.
Archaeologists also unearthed several porcelain bowls, jars and clay pots from the tomb. They found a document recording the date the land was purchased, the institute said. Based on the faded writing found on this square block, experts dated the tomb between 1190 and 1196.
Yuanqu County is in Shanxi province, about 545 miles southwest of Beijing
Google Translate and Baidu Translate were used to translate news releases from the Institute of Archaeology at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the Shanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology.