A team of archaeologists recently completed their initial excavations of the Bronze Age tombs discovered three months ago on Mount Dadian (大甸山) in Changning County (昌宁县) in Baoshan (保山), Yunnan Province. The tombs were first brought to the attention of the Baoshan Municipal Administration of Cultural Heritage on 9th October 2012 when they received reports that bronze artefacts had been discovered at a site on Mount Dadian. These discoveries were immediately reported to the Yunnan Cultural Relics Bureau (云南省文物局) and Yunnan Provincial Institute of Archaeology (云南省考古研究所) and by the next day, a team of archaeologists from the Baoshan Municipal Administration of Cultural Heritage and Changning County Administration of Cultural Heritage began excavating the site under the supervision of the Yunnan Provincial Institute of Archaeology.
During their three-month project, the team succeeded in clearing some 4,000 square metres of earth around the tomb cluster and have conducted salvage excavations of the exposed tombs, conducted surveys of the site, and carried out a systematic and scientific study of the site using a combination of modern field survey methods, trial trenching, and stratigraphic excavations. A total of 198 tombs have been found at the site and over 280 grave goods have been unearthed, including large numbers of bronze ware, stone artefacts, earthenware, iron artefacts, amber pieces, seashells, linens, and goods made from bamboo and rattan. Among these items were iron and bronze swords and machetes (including ones with human-face designs), bronze buckles and other ornaments, bronze bells, stone pendants, grindstones, stone and clay spinning wheels, adzes, pottery jars and urns, iron spears with copper grips, iron fillings, amber beads, and cowrie shells. From these artefacts, the archaeologists have concluded that the tombs date back to the Bronze Age and belong to two different cultures. Efforts will now be focussed on publishing the findings, conducting further excavations at the site, and taking appropriate measures to conserve, protect and exhibit the tombs and excavated artefacts.
Author’s Note: This is a summary translation of the original article, which can be found here. Please note that I am not a professional translator or archaeologist so there may be errors in my translation.