Archaeologists have reported the discovery of an ancient tomb of a general and his princess wife in China.
The cemetery was excavated between August 2012 and June 2013 and the discovery was reported in the journal Wenwu in 2015. The article was published in the Chinese Cultural Relic after it was translated into the English language from Chinese.
Pottery Figurines Filled The Ancient Tomb
The ancient tomb, where the couple's remains were buried in the year 564 AD, was also found filled with figurines. Of the 105 grave goods archaeologists found in the tomb, most are pottery figurines.
The colors of the figures were preserved and represent warriors, oxcarts, drummers, and camels. The tallest of these figurines stand at about 22 inches.
It was believed that the figures placed in ancient Chinese tombs as grave goods represent what would become the available service of the dead in the afterlife. The famous Terracotta Army sculptures that depict the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China, were supposed to protect the emperor in the afterlife.
Northern Qi Dynasty General
A sandstone inscription left in the tomb offered hints on Zhao Xin and his wife Princess Neé Liu.
The inscription said that Zhao Xin served the Northern Qi dynasty rulers who controlled parts of northern China between 550 and 577. He was a general and at times served as governor in different areas of the country.
Zhao Xin's final post was serving as general of a garrison of soldiers at Huangniu Town, where he spearheaded the garrison in a battle that led to victory. Zhao Xin passed away at the age of 67 while still serving as general of the garrison.
Modest And Humble Princess
Princess Neé Liu was described as modest and humble by nature marked by filial piety and sincerity. She is also said to exhibit respectful and chaste behavior, according to the writings in the inscription found in the tomb.
Buried On The Same Day
While it is common for couples and family members to be buried together, the burial of the ancient Chinese couple raises some questions since the inscription in the tomb indicated that the two were buried together "on the 20th day of the second moon of the third year of the Heqing period."
Researchers said that this date corresponds to March 18, 564.
The general and his wife were buried on the same date. It is not yet clear though why the couple was buried on the same day because the inscription did not indicate why. A detailed analysis of the couples' bones has not been published yet.
The tomb lies near modern-day Taiyuan, the capital and largest city of Shanxi province, North China, on the foothills of mountains. Experts think the mountain location may have symbolic value as hinted by the words in the inscription.
Besides the tomb of the general and his princess wife, archaeologists also discussed in the Chinese Cultural Relic the other tombs they discovered in the cemetery where they excavated a total of 69 tombs.