Here’s a stellar archaeological discovery: a tomb honoring a feudal lord and his wife included the remains of more than 100 horses and four chariots.
The remains were found in a 2,400-year-old pit near the city of Xinzheng in China, holding the remains of horses and chariots believed to belong to an ancient royal household member. The pit was among a cluster of tombs from those of the Zheng Sate, who ruled the region between 770 and 221 BC.
In total, 18 large pits of horses and chariots and more than 3,000 tombs have been excavated in the surrounding area. This pit containing more than 90 horses, is the largest of the pits in the group, with Ma Juncai from the provincial cultural heritage and archaeology institute, who led the excavation, telling Xinhua, the Chinese state news agency: “As the main tomb has been looted and no written records have been found yet, it is difficult to identify the tomb owner.”
There are believed to be more than 100 horses buried in the pit, though they have not all been excavated yet. Three of the chariots could have been for everyday use by a Zheng State Lord and his wife. The contents of the pit provide clues about the family’s social status as well as technology and production methods. One chariot was adorned with bronze artifacts and had rain and sun protection, which could mean it was used in a ceremonial function.
The details of how these horses and chariots were put in the tomb is not entirely clear, especially given the massive number of remains and the large size of the chariots (one was around eight feet long and five and a half feet wide). Those studying the site believe the horses were killed and placed in the pit beside the owner’s tomb with the chariots dismantled and placed on top of the horses’ bodies.
A similar find was made about 75 miles away in 2011, as archaeologists uncovered the almost 3,000-year-old remains of horses and wooden chariots in a Zhou Dynasty tomb in Luoyang, Henan Province.
Those weighing in with comments on the Daily Mail‘s coverage of this story had plenty to say, with many echoing this commenter: “Those poor horses. I wonder if their servants are somewhere in there too.”
Another commenter noted: “I have been lucky enough to travel to China and have been to see the terracotta warriors and to Chengdu where an ancient settlement, houses, pottery, jewelery, etc. have been unearthed. It’s a fascinating place archaeologically and I know more sites will open up as excavation continues. It is one of the wonders of the world to see these well-preserved remains. Travel broadens the mind and educates.”
This commenter noted the significance of history, writing: “One of the greatest ancient civilizations the world has ever seen. We hear more of the ancient Greeks, Romans and of course, British history. It’s a shame we don’t hear more from that part of the world. One day, when we can all live in peace and harmony, and see our planet as our one true home, maybe then we will appreciate the history of all mankind a bit more.”