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Tomb discovery shows relics need better protection
China Daily     Updated: 2021-12-17

The National Cultural Heritage Administration announced on Tuesday that a large tomb at Jiangcun village in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, where archeologists have been carrying out excavations since 2016, belongs to Emperor Wen of the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 24).

The tomb's significance cannot be over-emphasized, because Emperor Wen, the third emperor of the Western Han Dynasty, heralded a period of prosperity in ancient China and left a lasting impression on Chinese history.

Although Emperor Wen's tomb finds mention in various historical accounts and poems as Baling, its exact location was not known until now.

The excavations at the tomb site-undertaken as part of a renovation project after some grave robbers in an attempt to steal ancient artifacts destroyed them-are expected to unearth more secrets about Chinese history.

Some reports say that cultural relics from the Jiangcun tomb were being auctioned overseas as early as 2002.

Which means grave robbers pose one of the biggest threats to cultural relics buried in tombs, and cultural relics protection officials need to take stricter measures to prevent the theft of, or damage to, priceless relics.

But to protect the relics, the authorities should not carry out hasty excavations at historical sites, because by doing so, they can damage the relics buried there.

It is therefore necessary to strike at the root of the problem, by cracking down on grave robbers' gangs, so they don't get a chance to lay their hands on the relics that have remained untouched for thousands of years.

But that would require more departments, including the public security department, to cooperate with the cultural relics departments. Only in this way can ancient artifacts be better protected.