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Over 3,000-year-old Bronze Sword discovered in C. China

Chinese archaeologists have recently unearthed a short bronze sword in one of the seven newly-discovered pits of chariots and horses in the famous ruins of Yin, in Anyang city of central China's Henan Province, said a local cultural relic official.

The official with the Henan Provincial Cultural Heritage Administration said the double-edged sword is about 30 to 35 centimeters long, and its handle, body and ridge are all clear and easy to be identified.

The official said the seven pits of chariots and horses as well as three medium-sized tombs were discovered in a recent excavation at the western edge of the Yin Ruins in Anyang, which was the capital of the late Shang Dynasty (c. 1300-1050 BC), some 500 km south of the national capital Beijing.

Five of the seven newly-discovered pits remained basically intact and they are arranged in a line, with chariots and horses facing eastward, according to the official.

Archaeologists also unearthed 30 bronze arrowheads in the same pit where the sword was found.

Of the three tombs, the one coded M13 was the biggest, which archaeologists said to have been robbed of, losing many cultural relics. But they still unearthed a dozen bronze daggers, a musical stone and over 20 bronze arrowheads from the tomb.

Covering 30 square kilometers, the Yin Ruins was first discovered by a Chinese archaeologist in 1899. Yin was an ancient name for the Shang Dynasty.

Excavations on either side of the Huan River have revealed tombs, foundations of palaces and temples (but no city wall), bronzes, jade carvings, lacquer, many inlaid items, white carved ceramics and high-fired green-glazed wares as well as oracle bones. One of important discoveries of Yinxu (Yin Ruins) is the inscribed animal bones and tortoise shells, known as oracle bones. The bones and shells, used for divination by Shang kings, carry the earliest known examples of Chinese characters.

Yin Ruins topped the 100 greatest archaeological discoveries of China in the 20th century.

The recent excavation at Yinxu was jointly conducted by the archaeological research institute under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and Anyang City Cultural Relics Work Team from January to April this year.


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