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Mythical treasure found at bottom of Minjiang River


03-22-2017 08:28 BJT

(Source: CGTN)

A centuries-old treasure trove that sank to the bottom of the Minjiang River has been found in the Pengshan district of Meishan, Sichuan Province.  The archeological dig started in early January.

For centuries, legend had it that a fortune in gold and silver sat at the bottom of the Minjiang River, near Pengshan city.

It was said to belong to Zhang Xianzhong, the leader of a peasant uprising during the late Ming Dynasty, some 400 years ago.

It wasn't just a legend. More than 20,000 items have been unearthed. These four gold and silver seals are inscribed with stories of Zhang and his family.

So how did a peasant accumulate such wealth?

"Zhang and his troops passed through this area on ship, according to the historical reference. He didn't have much steady economic support to gain these treasures, so we believe they plundered to finance the army," Liu Zhiyan with Sichuan Archeology Research Center said.

From the 1950s to the 1990s, silver washed up on the shores of the Minjiang, believed to come from Zhang's boats.

A decade ago, farmers discovered a silver ingot while working on an irrigation project.  It set off a massive treasure hunt.

In late 2016, an official archeological excavation was launched

"One significance of excavating the treasures is that it can help us better understand the history, culture and politics of the Ming Dynasty," Wang Wei, chairman of Chinese Society of Archaeology said.

There is one month to go until the flood season. It's hoped more items will be found before the digging ends in April.

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