Unusual pyramid-shaped tomb found in China

Pyramid tomb discovered in Zhengzhou, China. Photo by Li Sixin, ImagineChina.

Ancient tombs discovered at construction site in Zhengzhou. Photo by Li Sixin, ImagineChina.Archaeologists have discovered an unusual pyramid-shaped tomb on the south bank of the Yellow River in Zhengzhou, central China. A small village once occupied the property, but it was displaced to make way for a new residential development to be constructed in its place. Before the new apartment complex goes up, a team from the Zhengzhou Museum of Cultural Relics and Archaeology is excavating the site.

On the north side of the construction site near a busy road, the team unearthed a burial chamber containing Pyramid and half cylinder tombs. Photo by Li Sixin, ImagineChina.two brick tombs, the first built in a pyramid shape, the second as an elongated dome like a cylinder cut in half lengthwise. The chamber is almost 100 feet long and 26 feet wide and is laid out along an east-west orientation. The entrance faces east and has a narrow ramp leading down to the tombs.

The elongated dome tomb is about 13 feet long, significantly larger than the pyramid, and was the primary tomb which likely held the remains of the most important personage. There’s a hole in the vaulted roof Hole in the roof of the elongated dome left by looters. Photo by Li Sixin, ImagineChina.about two and a half feet in diameter left by tomb robbers at some point in its long history. The archaeological team has not yet opened the tombs, so we don’t know what, if anything, remains inside either of the structures.

The pyramid tomb was not interfered with and appears to be intact, probably because the looters didn’t realize it was there. While the pyramid shape is unusual for brick tombs, rounded tombs with pointed tops have been found before, and the pyramid’s bowed walls suggest a connection to the more traditional form. The burial chamber has not been officially dated yet, but brick tombs are characteristic of the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-220 A.D.), and there are several Han-era sites in the area, including metallurgic workshops just a mile away.

Excavation of ancient burial chamber. Photo by Li Sixin, Imagine China.



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Comment by dearieme
2017-03-16 09:01:46

An Egyptian fleet of yuge, yuge vessels had obviously visited China. Probably under the command of a eunuch admiral.

Stands to reason, dunnit?

Comment by Aḫušina II.
2017-03-16 10:36:45

That thing is rather tiny, and a ‘barrel vault’ is what you would expect underneath Chinese tumuli. The ramp and the ‘cone’, however, remind of what has been dubbed the ‘Treasury of Atreus’ from around 1250BC in Mycenae. Barrel vaults ‘without the barrel’, however, would probably always result in that ‘conic’ pyramidal shape.

In southern Germany, I found even tinier more pebbly cones, and I wished a had some fiber-optic on me, to see if there is anything inside, a group of five or six ‘cones’, each about 3.3ft in diameter, and one could stand of them as well. One of them was broken in and empty. There was a Bronze Age hillfort nearby, a few Medieval ones too, and people can get their ashes ‘buried’ there to this very day, as I found out later.

The real disgrace is: People would simply not afford anything like the ‘Treasury of Atreus’ these days, and unfortunately I do not have enough gold to take with me. Thus, a plain-vanilla cremation in Germany is all I will be asking for.

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