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3,500-year-old tomb in NW China indicates sun worship


Chinese archaeologists examining an ancient tomb in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region have conjectured that the site was dedicated to the worship of the sun.


3,500-year-old tomb in NW China indicates sun worship

3,500-year-old tomb in NW China indicates sun worship
Aerial photo of the ancient tomb in Nilka County in the Kazak Autonomous Prefecture of Ili,
northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region [Credit: Xinjiang Regional
 Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology via Xinhua]

The tomb was found in Nilka County in the Kazak Autonomous Prefecture of Ili in 2015. Earlier excavations by an archaeological team from the Xinjiang Regional Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology found pottery and stone tools in the tomb, which helped the researchers date it to around 3,500 years ago.




An excavation project starting last year led to the discovery of 17 lines of stones alongside the tomb, forming a pattern that resembles sun rays.


3,500-year-old tomb in NW China indicates sun worship
Aerial photo shows the stone chamber of an ancient tomb in Nilka County in the Kazak
Autonomous Prefecture of Ili, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region
[Credit: Xinjiang Regional Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology via Xinhua]

3,500-year-old tomb in NW China indicates sun worship
The exterior of the tomb chamber paved with red clay at an ancient tomb in Nilka County in the
 Kazak Autonomous Prefecture of Ili, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region 
[Credit: Xinjiang Regional Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology via Xinhua]

"The ray-like pattern might imply sun worship," Ruan Qiurong, leader of the project, said. "Similar patterns have been found in relic sites in other parts of Xinjiang and the Eurasian grassland."




The bottom and exterior of the tomb chamber were paved with red clay, which also points to sun worship, Ruan said, adding that the tomb's complex structure shows its owners were of high social status.


3,500-year-old tomb in NW China indicates sun worship
Aerial photo shows the stone chamber of the tomb in Nilka County in the Kazak Autonomous
Prefecture of Ili, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region [Credit: Xinjiang
 Regional Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology via Xinhua]

3,500-year-old tomb in NW China indicates sun worship
Aerial photo shows lines of stones alongside an ancient tomb in Nilka County in the Kazak
Autonomous Prefecture of Ili, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region
[Credit: Xinjiang Regional Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology via Xinhua]

Experts say the tomb provides key research materials for the study of social conditions and cultural exchanges in Xinjiang more than 3,000 years ago.


Source: Xinhua News Agency [December 19, 2020]



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