Xizang excavates archaeological site with the highest altitude in China
Published: Apr 24, 2022 04:43 PM Updated: Apr 24, 2022 04:33 PM

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The Xizang Tibet Autonomous Region Cultural Relics Protection Research Institute announced that a cave site was excavated in 2021. It is also the archaeological site with the highest elevation known in China with hundreds of human and animal bones found in the cave.

Chilie Ciren, a researcher with the institute, said the site, known as the Dingqiong cave, is located in Zhongba county, Shigatse.

According to Chilie, the cave is a naturally formed underground cave with an elevation of 5,000 meters. It is divided into two parts: The upper cave has a winding slope from east to west with a total length of 67 meters; The lower cave is distributed on both sides of the end of a vertical cave with a total length of about 50 meters.

Chilie said there were more than 300 animal bones in the upper cave and at least 100 human bones in the lower cave. There are about 20 cultural relics in the cave, including relics of pottery, copper, iron, bamboo and textiles.

The ruins dated back to the Qin and Han dynasties (221BC-220), and the site has been recognized to be an early cave cluster of tomb remains.

This kind of tomb remains is rare in Xizang and they provide important information for the study of early Tibetan funeral customs, thus the discovery is of great academic significance for the study of the early history of western Xizang and cross-cultural exchanges in the Himalayan mountains, experts said.

The archaeological team is currently conducting multidisciplinary researches on samples collected from the site, including physical anthropology, zoology, ancient DNA archaeology and cave research, which is expected to yield fruitful results, Chilie noted.

Global Times