On the evening of December 12, the West China Metropolis Daily and the cover news reporter learned from the Chongqing Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology that a well-preserved tomb of the early Western Han Dynasty with a clear date was found in Wulong District, Chongqing, and more than 5 relics were unearthed. Experts believe that the number of cultural relics unearthed from the Western Han Dynasty tombs discovered this time is the first time in Chongqing. This is also the earliest Western Han tomb with a clear date found in Chinese archaeology.

With the approval of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, starting from September 2023, the Chongqing Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, together with the Institute of Archaeology of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the Jingzhou Cultural Relics Protection Center, conducted archaeological excavations on the tomb. The tomb discovered this time is called "Guankou Western Han Dynasty Tomb No. 9". At the same time, there are also a number of brick and stone chamber tombs in the Eastern Han Dynasty.

The tombs are well preserved

It has the characteristics of multicultural convergence

According to Huang Wei, deputy research librarian of the Chongqing Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology and the archaeological leader of the project, because the coffin was all immersed in water, it isolated the erosion of air and other substances and ensured the integrity of the tomb, so a large number of well-preserved burial goods were unearthed. These burial goods play an important role in understanding the burial customs of the Western Han Dynasty and the social outlook at that time.

The excavated "Guankou Western Han Dynasty No. 1 Tomb" is a Chu-style tomb. Chu tombs usually use lacquered wood as the main burial objects. The archaeological excavation unearthed a variety of lacquered wood types and ornaments, such as ear cups, lacquer plates, lacquer tables, lacquer cases, lacquer bottles, lacquer slurs, lacquer boxes, lacquer pots, etc., are similar to the lacquerware in Jingchu area. At the same time, the structure of the sub-box also has the characteristics of Chu culture. In addition, the tomb also unearthed a garlic pot with obvious characteristics of Qin culture and a bronze pot with typical characteristics of Ba and Shu culture. Therefore, the characteristics of the times of the convergence and integration of Ba, Shu, Chu and Qin cultures are fully revealed in the "No. 1 Tomb of the Western Han Dynasty at the Pass".

Huang Wei revealed that although the tomb has the characteristics of Chu culture, the coffin is made of common local nanmu. The white plaster used on the periphery of the coffin is also a raw material that can be taken locally next to the tomb. Therefore, it is not known whether the owner of the tomb is a local or a migrated Chu person. At present, the Chongqing Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology and the Institute of Archaeology of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences have carried out physical anthropological tests on the tomb owner, and experts have preliminarily judged that the tomb owner is a man, and the time of death should be in middle and old age. It is worth mentioning that, judging from the condition of the bones, the owner of the tomb should be strong, and according to the bronze spears, bows and arrows and other weapons unearthed in the tomb, it is speculated that he may be a good martial artist.

23 "dry branch" wooden slabs

It is currently the first discovery in the country

Among the excavated relics, there are clear written records, and they have become the most important object of attention. Huang Wei introduced that the wooden rafts unearthed from the tomb are divided into two parts, one part is a complete set of 23 "dry branch" wooden rafts, and the other part is 8 pieces of wooden rafts known as "dispatch". Of these 8 wooden slabs, 3 have not yet been found in writing.

Huang Wei said that the whole set of "dry branch" wooden rafts is currently the first time in the country to be discovered. The dispatch is a list of burial items recorded by the ancients in funeral activities, and a total of 5 wooden rafts were found in the "No. <> Tomb of the Western Han Dynasty at Guankou" to record the relevant contents. "The type and quantity of burial utensils at the time of burial are generally recorded, which has important reference value for the study of burial systems and funeral customs in the Western Han Dynasty."

Huang Wei said that the records of the wooden rafts can also correspond the ancient artifacts to the names, solving the problem of comparing the names and objects. For example, there has been controversy in the academic community about the naming of two kinds of utensils, 卮 and bottle. Although both are vessels for wine, there are different opinions about their forms. This time, we can draw a definite conclusion by comparing the records of the dispatch with the actual thing.

In addition, the only wooden boat model of the Western Han Dynasty in China was also found in the "No. 1 Tomb of the Western Han Dynasty at the Guankou". Because of the arid climate in the north, the ancients rarely used wooden boats as a means of transportation, so they were usually buried with chariots and horses; Although boats are often used as a means of transportation in the south, it is rare to use boats as burial objects. Therefore, the wooden ship model found in the "No. 1 Tomb of the Western Han Dynasty at the Guankou" is a particularly important find.

At the same time, the unearthed chariot and horse models are also scattered due to the water buoyancy in the tomb and the stacking of wooden coffins, and a lot of restoration work is needed to restore its original appearance.

Regarding the establishment of the county of "Fuling", scholars generally believe that it was built in the first year of the founding of the Western Han Dynasty during the period of Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty, that is, in 140 BC. The record of "Fuling" in the slip this time advances the history of the establishment of Fuling County from the middle of the Western Han Dynasty to no later than the early Western Han Dynasty.

West China Metropolis Daily-Cover News Reporter Liu Kexin

Courtesy of Chongqing Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology