The Nanfang / Blog


So much for progress: ancient tombs ravaged by urbanisation and theft

Posted: 06/20/2013 7:00 am

Ancient tombs have been destroyed in Guangzhou and Jieyang as urbanisation and greed continue to ravage the country’s historical heritage.

Archaeologists discovered Saturday (June 15) that construction of the Guangzhou Subway line 6 had destroyed 5 ancient tombs.

The Guangzhou Metro company claimed it had been granted permission by the Guangzhou Archeological Institute to destroy an area that was home to the 2,000 year-old tombs during the expansion of the line. However, the institute has denied giving the company permission to construct in the area where the tombs lay, Guangdong Satellite Television reports.

The chairman of the institute, Mr. Zhang, put it down to miscommunication.

In related news, the largest Song Dynasty (960-1279) tomb in Eastern Guangdong’s Jieyang City was raided and seriously damaged twice between mid-May and early June. The damage done to the tomb, which is on the protected list of the local government, may be irreparable, Guangzhou Daily reports.

Huang Huanguo’s tomb, courtesy of Guangzhou Daily

The Song Dynasty sage and statesman Huang Huanguo, who originally came from Dingzhou in Fujian Province, is listed as the number 1 most important person in “The Jieyang Book of Ancient Historical Figures” and it was his tomb that was raided twice.

It became a protected site in 1996. Police are investigating.

One commenter on Shanghaiist said: “Destroying their heritage is a National (sic) pastime, it’s called archaeology with Chinese characteristics.”

However, modernity and greed aren’t entirely having their own way. Shanghaiist reports that a tomb raider died when a tunnel collapsed on him when he was trying to steal from a Western Zhou Dynasty (1046-771 BCE) tomb in Shaanxi Province on June 15.



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