Cultural relics not an enemy to bulldozers
ancient Chinese tombs dating more than 2,000 years were discovered during the construction of a city square in Ruzhou, Central China’s Henan province. However, the construction work continued and soon turned into a real estate development project. Beijing Times commented on Tuesday:
Henan is among the richest provinces when it comes to ancient cultural heritage, but the discovery of the ancient tombs dating back to the Western and Eastern Han dynasties (206 BC – 220) was apparently not good news to the real estate developer, which despite being fined 400,000 yuan ($57,000) and ordered to suspend construction, carried on with the work.
Most developers take out huge loans for a project. This means even a day’s delay is another day of interest that has to be paid. In this sense, exploration of the ancient tombs would have been a heavy financial burden for the developer.
And for many, archeology is a “useless science”, as they cannot see that it delivers any tangible benefits. The protection of cultural relics thus has often had to give way to development.
But the ultimate significance of archeology is it tells us about the past and how people lived in ancient times. From this point of view, archaeology serves to enlighten the present. When the tombs were uncovered, their significance surpassed a delay to a development project.
In order to better protect cultural relics, the national level cultural relics protection mechanism should upgrade its efficiency, so more of the nation’s past is not lost to the bulldozers of developers.