Haihunhou tomb excavation concludes with valuable historical discoveries
The excavation of the Marquis of Haihun tomb in Jiangxi province has yielded thousands of valuable historical relics.
The Haihunhou tomb is the best-preserved cemetery from the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 24), with the most integrated structure and a distinct layout.
After five years of excavation, more than 10,000 precious relics have been unearthed, including bronze, gold, silver and jade wares, bamboo slips and inscribed wooden tablets.
“Archaeologists and cultural relic conservation experts are cleaning the sludge that has covered the items for over 2,000 years to obtain more historical information. They are also restoring the broken ceramics and bronzes to showcase to the public,” said Chi Hong, head of Jiangxi’s Department of Culture.
The tomb belongs to Liu He (92 BC-59 BC), who was dethroned after 27 days— the shortest reign among Western Han monarchs— because of his debauchery and licentious lifestyle.
Nevertheless, he was allowed to reside near Poyang Lake and was given the title of marquis, a title that remained with his family for three generations.
The main coffin has been cleaned, and Liu’s remains can vaguely be seen in the inner coffin, with gilded lacquer boxes that are typically buried with the dead. A pillow, pendant, sword and other items all made with jade can be seen, as well as a jade seal with the name “Liu He” at the waist.
The remains are on a gilded glass mat, with 100 pieces of gold disc under the glass mat.
So far, 478 gold artifacts have been unearthed from the tomb, the largest in China’s archaeological history. Through analysis of X-ray imaging, delicate agate beads, gilded bronze boxes and jade-decorated bronze plaques were also discovered in the coffin.
After painstaking work, archaeologists successfully cleaned more than 5,000 bamboo slips, and infrared scanning allows the dimmed handwriting to be read. An initial interpretation of the slips shows contents from ancient books such as The Analects of Confucius, The Book of Changes and The Book of Rites.