Tomb in China’s Largest Ancient Cemetery Stolen

September 3, 2011 3:51 am Last Updated: September 7, 2011 12:23 am

A large hole has been discovered in the grounds of China’s largest ancient cemetery in the central province of Shaanxi, the state-run publication Xinhua has reported.

The hole used to contain the main tomb of the Qin Gong Cemetery’s No. 6 section. That tomb was believed to contain cultural relics, before the tomb and its relics were stolen, according to a discovery by the cemetery staff on June 3. The news remained unreported for three months.

After an on-site survey by heritage and public security officials, the hole was found to be as deep as 62 feet. The cemetery is the burial ground of at least 19 monarchs of the State of Qin, which lasted from 778 B.C. to 221 B.C., before it conquered the other six states and formed China’s first unified Dynasty known as the Qin Dynasty.

Since the tomb had never been opened before, the amount and value of lost cultural relics have yet to be determined.

Taking up 65.2 acres, the No. 6 section of the cemetery is one of the key cultural remains under state-level protection. The cemetery itself, at 8.4-miles long and 1.8-miles wide, containing 12 sections and 49 graves.

Usually the burial artifacts for the monarchs of Qin are generous. Last October, the Eastern Royal Tombs of the Qin Dynasty in Xi’an was also invaded by thieves. The grave of well-known emperor Qin Shi Huang’s grandfather, Zhao of Qing (324 B.C. to 251 B.C.) was robbed of 11 relics.

“Although the tomb in No. 6 grand cemetery has never been unearthed, it is easy to imagine that a huge number of heritage artifacts were inside the tomb," a scholar working on heritage preservation said.

A public notice issued by China’s State Administration of Cultural Heritage last December listed a large number of tomb robberies in 2010, including the Monarch of Zhao Monument at Handan County, Hebei Province, Emperor Suzong of Tang’s Tomb in Xianyang, Shaanxi Province, and the Tomb of Marquis Yi of Zeng in Suizhou, Hubei Province.

Read the original Chinese article.