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Amid skyscrapers, archaeologists uncover ancient tombs

Editor: Qian Ding 丨CCTV.com

11-29-2016 15:57 BJT

By Tom McGregor, CNTV Panview commentator and editor

China is rapidly modernizing as many farmers and those living in impoverished rural regions are migrating to the cities in search of jobs and better lives. A construction boom has kept the world’s second-largest economy robust.

The capital city, Beijing, has a population of 21.7 million as of 2015, according to official census figures.

Beijing continues to grow larger and get more crowded, hence the central government intends to build a new administrative center in Lucheng Township, Tongzhou District, which is located southeast of Beijing, around 40-minutes drive from the city center.

Construction workers have started building, and ironically while digging new ground they unearthed an ancient city along with tombs.

Could it be fate? China expands new capital city and in the process: Excavates ancient relics that date back to the Warring States period (475BC-221BC).

Unearthing relics

The Beijing Municipal Administration of Cultural Heritage held a press conference last Thursday at the Press Office of the People’s Government of Beijing.

Officials announced the discovery. Experts from nine Chinese archaeological organizations had participated in the excavation that lasted from February to September this year.

1,092 ancient tombs were unearthed from the periods of Warring States right up to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Additionally, they dug up over 10,000 other relics, including 69 kilns.

The site explored covered an area - 1 million square/meters (sq./m.) - 24 acres, while 40,000sq./m. was set for excavation work.

60 sites have been relocated for better protection as archaeologists found relics, such as pottery, porcelain, bronze and iron ware. The findings are significant, since Chinese President Xi Jinping has encouraged the country to have more “cultural confidence.”

Ancient Wall of China

Beijing served as the capital city for five dynasties dating back to 10th Century AD. The capital holds long-held historic ties, making it one of the most influential cities in the world for many centuries.

Apparently, ruins of its ancient capital were also unearthed. Archaeologists dug up, identified and measured a fortress-like city with huge walls and moat.


The newly-discovered city covered 350,000 sq./m. (86 acres), which had a 666-meter-long (1,988ft.) wall to the north; 575m. (1,866ft.) section - south; 589m. (1,932ft.) - east and 555m. (1,820ft.) - west.

Two roads were found in the city, as one appeared to be built in the Ming Dynasty and the other from Liao Dynasty. A 13m.-long (42.6ft.) and 50m.-wide (164ft.) moat was discovered in the southern part.

It seems like destiny that officials endorsed a plan to open up a new administrative center in Tongzhou District.

Beginning anew

President Xi has embarked on a bold strategy to transform Beijing into a mega metropolis zone, which is called, ‘Jing-Jin-Ji’ plan. Jing refers to Beijing, Jin - Tianjin and Ji - Hebei Province, as reported by Shanghaiist.

The capital city will link with the port city, Tianjin and surrounding Hebei Province. Tongzhou would act as key connector for the mega metropolis zone that may eventually hold a population as high as 100 million in a few decades.

The Beijing Municipal Government has launched a 30bn.RMB (US$4.6bn.) fund to build Tongzhou with more infrastructure, public services, along with the district’s industrial transformation and upgrading.

The municipal government will finance 20 percent of the initiative, while Agriculture Bank of China (ABC) offered to fund the rest. Plans are underway to relocate over 400,000 residents from Beijing city center to Tongzhou.

Respecting ancient relics

Chinese archaeologists have conducted a remarkable job unearthing ancient tombs, relics and fortified city from many centuries ago. China has a long and rich history and the Chinese of today, should show greater respect for their ancient traditions.

Uncovering relics can shed light on how Beijing built itself into a powerhouse city as far back as the Warring States period. By respecting the old, people have a fresh perspective for the modern day era and a brand new appreciation for how major cities get built.



( The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )


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