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Echoes of a Lost Civilization
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  • A fractured gold mask is unearthed from a sacrificial pit at the Sanxingdui Ruins site in Sichuan Province in southwest China.
  • Bronze ware unearthed from the Sanxingdui Ruins
  • Bronze items unearthed from a sacrificial pit
  • An archaeologist examines an ivory item in a sacrificial pit at the Sanxingdui Ruins on March 19
  • Archaeologists excavate a sacrificial pit on March 19
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Chinese archaeologists announced on March 20 that they had uncovered six new sacrificial pits and unearthed more than 500 items dating back about 3,000 years at the Sanxingdui Ruins, in Sichuan Province, southwest China. The findings help shed light on the development of the Chinese civilization and enhance a more vivid, deepened mutual learning among ancient civilizations.

Among the artifacts, there are exquisite gold masks, gold foil, bronze masks, bronze sacred trees, ivory products and jade. The remainder of the newly discovered pits is still under excavation.

Additionally, the archaeologists unearthed miniature ivory sculptures, silk and textile residues, carbonized rice as well as tree seeds.

Chinese archaeologists for the first time ever are applying 3D scanning and printing technologies to create bespoke casings for the relics unearthed. A 3D scanner can collect data on site without having to touch the objects.

The site was accidentally discovered in 1929. Covering a total of 12 square km, it is believed to be a remnant of the ancient Shu Kingdom, a civilization which can be traced back some 4,800 years and lasted over 2,000 years. The Sanxingdui relics discovered here are said to offer a crucial clue to unlocking the mysteries of the kingdom.

In 1986, archaeologists unearthed a large number of unique relics including a giant sacred bronze tree, from the No.1 and No.2 pits of the Sanxingdui Ruins. Until now, more than 50,000 artifacts have been extracted from the site. 

(Photos by Xinhua News Agency)

Copyedited by Elsbeth van Paridon

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