Awesome Archaeology

Mr. Xiao met us at the hotel at 9 am and took us straight to an apartment in the suburbs where Mr. Xiao’s company had rented the top floor using it for restoration and storage.

We were allowed to see thousands of priceless excavated objects from many tombs around Xi’an and from different dynastic periods.

There were people there who were restoring figures and also making drawings of them and writing down all the details. First on paper and then into a computer.

Afterwards we were accompanied to a dig site in the countryside south of the city. They had not made it down to the tomb yet but had already uncovered many artifacts and wall paintings on the access ramp.

I found some pieces of ceramic pots, which Mr. Xiao identified as coming from the Ming dynasty period (1368-1644). They are on the surface because of excavations and because farmers plough them up.

Then we went to see some Han tombs not too many kilometers away. These were however tall mounds and not holes in the ground. Next to them were two Ming mounds that we went to see and walk around. Here I found some more interesting artifacts.

Next was lunch at a restaurant that specialized in making different kinds of dumplings. Some were good and others I didn’t like.

Now for the highlight of the day. Mr. Xiao took us to his own dig site in which they had recently (May 14) uncovered and opened a Ming tomb.

There was a special something that Mr. Xiao had left for me to find, so naturally I went down the access ramp and entered the tomb……

What I was supposed to find wasn’t too difficult since it was right in front of my face. It was two coffins in which there were still bodies (just so that you know they were dead).

It was an eerie sight and a very special feeling to be standing deep down in the ground inside of such an ancient tomb structure with the bodies still being in there.

There were many containers that had various items that were found in the tomb.

In the roof there were two holes through grave robbers had entered the tomb at a much earlier time and probably taken away all the gold and valuable items.

After this one of Mr. Xiao’s colleagues showed us how they did manual coring (coring is a method used to find out what lies deep beneath the surface –up to 8 meters down without any digging).

Finally, Mr. Xiao took us to his local site office and showed us a lot of pictures of his discoveries and a map of all the tombs in that area. He gave me a rubbing of a grave plate –same as a tombstone in the West.

We said farewell to Mr. Xiao and after a quick stop by at our hotel we went to the Xi’an antique market where I got some old coins, gifts and stuff. See picture where I am selecting coins.

Dinner was at the same hotpot restaurant as the night before. I gave Mary and Annie a small gift for their help. Bedtime was at close to 11pm.