In the midst of effort to catch up with tomorrow, through a frantic modernisation programme, China is giving top priority to the job of digging up and piecing together the past.
GV PAN Stee??? cliffs in south eastern China (2 shots)
GV Scaffolding up cliff face to entrance of caves (2 shots)
SV Archaeologists open coffin at entrance to cave showing skeleton inside
SV Archaeologist brushing skull and bones (2 shots)
CU Hair & skull
SV Workers opening coffin, inside skeleton surrounded by artifacts (5 shots)
SVs PAN Inside cave documenting pots and other artifacts (2 shots)
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Background: In the midst of effort to catch up with tomorrow, through a frantic modernisation programme, China is giving top priority to the job of digging up and piecing together the past. Recently Chinese archaeologists discovered more than seventy ancient tombs inside steep cliffs in the Southeast of the country.
SYNOPSIS: The cliffs that house the tombs are along the Luxi River in Guixi Country of Jiangxi Province. Natural caves in the cliff face were used as the basis for construction of the tombs during the Warring States Period before the unification of China more than two thousand six hundred years ago.
The skeletons found inside the tombs were very well preserved, some complete with hair. Experts say the reason is the consistent climate of Jiangxi Province where temperatures vary little throughout the year. Chinese archaeologists are in the enviable position of being able to call on almost unlimited funds for their search and excavation work. More than a thousand archaeologists are currently working to extend the proven history of China's civilisation. It is already clear back to the beginning of the Shang Dynasty about three thousand seven hundred years ago. It is believed that these tombs were built by the She people, an ethnic minority that still live in this part of China. As was the custom all over China during the Warring States period, and for a long time after, weapons, clothing and household goods were buried with the dead in the belief that they would need them in the life to come. That custom is now providing valuable information.