Heavy rain in Central China reveals ancient tomb from Han Dynasty
Published: Jul 25, 2021 07:23 PM
Torrential rain in Central China's Henan Province has unearthed an ancient Han Dynasty (206BC-AD220) tomb and efforts are currently underway to rescue the site and its relics, local officials said on Sunday.

Wang Kai, section chief of the Cultural Relics Bureau in Xinzheng, Henan Province, told the Global Times that after they learned about the discovery, staff from the bureau rushed to the spot despite heavy rain and stood watch through the entire night.

Archaeologists are being brought in to carry out an urgent excavation of the tomb.

He added that the newly uncovered tomb appears to have belonged to an average citizen as few burial objects were found within the tomb. Based on the style of the broken pottery shards, five ancient coins and the scattered hollow bricks found at the site, the tomb was determined to date back to the Han Dynasty. 

This record-breaking rainfall has posed an immense challenge to the staff at the bureau as many ancient sites in the region have been flooded. The hashtag "Henan Cultural Relics Bureau Director Cried" has earned 300 million views on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo as of Sunday.

"Zhang Ting, director of the Zhengzhou Museum, said that as a cultural relics worker, the safety of cultural relics is more important than our lives. I then burst into tears..." Tian Kai, director of the Henan Provincial Bureau of Cultural Relics, posted on WeChat on Friday in a post that has gone viral on Chinese social media. 

Many Chinese netizens sent their best wishes to the staff, who are sparing no effort to protect the cultural relics. Many museums across the country, including the Palace Museum in Beijing also posted on Sina Weibo messages cheering on Henan Province. 

The organizations in charge of cultural heritage sites in the province, including the Longmen Grottoes in Luoyang, Henan Province, and the Yinxu Ruins in Anyang, have announced on Sina Weibo that their sites are currently safe. 

An employee from the Zhengzhou Museum who wishes to be anonymous told the Global Times that the staff in the museum are currently on duty on their respective posts regardless of weekends to ensure the safety of the cultural relics. 

According to reports from Chinese media, the National Cultural Heritage Administration has drawn on funds for the emergency handling of cultural relics to ensure that the cultural relics in the disaster-stricken province are protected.

Henan Province has the second largest number of cultural relic sites in China with five world cultural heritage sites, 420 national key cultural relic sites and 1,170 provincial-level cultural relic sites.