ARCHAEOLOGISTS FIND 800-YEAR-OLD SECRET TUNNELS IN CENTRAL CHINA
12 Jul 2013 11:19
ZHENGZHOU, July 10 (Bernama) -- Archaeologists recently completed a
four-month project to excavate secret tunnels built nearly 800 years ago in
central China's Henan Province, Xinhua news agency reported.
Zhao Hong, a researcher with the Cultural Relics Institute of Henan, said
seven narrow passages beneath the ruins of an ancient town in Sheqi County were
discovered in March, and archaeologists believe they served as escape routes for
unarmed residents to use in times of unrest.
Zhao, who is also head archaeologist of the excavation team, said that based
on the pots found at entrances to the tunnels and the way in which the
underground channels were connected, archaeologists have deduced that people at
that time relied on those channels to hide from battles raging above ground.
Based on some unearthed articles including pottery, porcelain, stone, iron,
bronze and bone wares, archaeologists calculated that the tunnels were built 800
years ago (in late Jin Dynasty and early Yuan Dynasty), when wars between
various ethnicities left China in states of chaos.
"The deepest one is 6 metres below ground. People had to descend from their
homes to go down through a shaft chiseled with footholds. Thus, neither the
shafts nor the temporary shelters were comfortable, as refugees had to bend low
or even creep to pass some sections," Zhao said.
"They could survive on food and water stored in the pots or flee via passages
leading to exits far from the residences above ground."
Zhao said that from more than 300 bags of porcelain pieces from the tunnels,
about 100 objects can be restored which will be significant for research into
the local history, economy and culture.