Shanxi excavates tombs of Shang Dynasty nobles


Archaeologists recently discovered two tombs from the Shang Dynasty (c.16th century-11th century BC) in the city of Lyuliang – located in North China's Shanxi province, according to a statement released by Shanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology on March 9. 

From April to June 2020, the institute and Lyuliang Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology jointly conducted archaeological excavations on 38 tombs discovered in the local Lishi district. The two tombs from the Shang Dynasty are in the southwest part of the tomb grouping.

A total of 51 pieces of bronze, pottery, bones, shells and mussels have been unearthed from the two tombs. 

Among the findings were the hollowed-out hilt and willow-shaped spear body of a bronze dagger showing the distinctive style of the northern grassland culture – the first with such style ever discovered in China.

Zhao Hui, an associate research librarian of the Shanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology, said that one of the two tombs was the largest and highest-caste level for such structures from the Shang Dynasty to ever be found on the banks of the Yellow River in the Shanxi-Shaanxi Plateau. Zhao added the noble in the tomb was possibly from the highest-ranking nobility of the indigenous group.

The excavations of the tombs provide new inspiration for understanding the characteristics of high-caste tombs in Shanxi.