Thousands of ancient tombs found near Xi'an
China Daily     Updated: 2021-02-18

The recent discovery of thousands of ancient tombs on the site of an airport expansion project in Shaanxi province has surprised netizens.

According to a microblog post on Monday by the Shaanxi Provincial Administration of Cultural Heritage, more than 3,500 ancient tombs of different dynasties have been discovered on the construction site of the third phase expansion of Xi'an Xianyang International Airport.

The airport is in Xianyang, a city about 25 kilometers from downtown Xi'an, the capital of Shaanxi.

The administration said in the post that from Feb 4 to 17, more than 60 members of an excavation team based near the airport, together with 900 workers, responded to a call to celebrate the Spring Festival locally.

"They gave up the holiday and kept on excavating to ensure that the airport extension project could be conducted smoothly," it said, describing it as the largest civil aviation project in Northwest China.

"Within the work area of the project, a total of 4,600 cultural relics were discovered, of which about 3,500 were ancient tombs," the administration said in the post. "Such a large number and scale means the excavation will be quite difficult.

No more details about the excavation have been released.

As of Wednesday afternoon, posts on the topic has been viewed 34 million times, with many netizens leaving comments.

"It's too difficult to build something on the ground of Xi'an, as it has so many ancient tombs underground," a netizen named Shuke wrote.

Netizen Goodman joked, "Whenever an infrastructure project kicks off in Xi'an, the archaeology office becomes the city's busiest bureau."

As the capital of 13 dynasties throughout Chinese history, Xi'an and its archaeological discoveries have often hit the headlines.

Statistics from the administration showed that last year alone witnessed the excavation of almost 4,000 ancient tombs and more than 100,000 square meters of ancient sites in the province.