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Pyramids discovered in China

Archaeologists have discovered a group of ancient tombs shaped like pyramids, dating back at least 3,000 years in China's Jilin Province.

india Updated: Jun 26, 2006 12:24 IST

Chinese archaeologists have discovered a group of ancient tombs shaped like pyramids, dating back at least 3,000 years in northeast China's Jilin Province, the state media reported today.

The tombs, covering an area of 500,000 square meters, were found in Jiaohe city after some parts of two tombs were revealed due to erosion of a mountain by the water.

Six other smaller tombs had been eroded away leaving no signs of their original scale and appearance, but the biggest tomb, located on the south side of the mountain, could clearly be discerned as a pyramid with three layers from bottom to top, Xinhua news agency reported.

The square bottom of the pyramid is about 50 meters long and 30 meters wide, about the size of a basketball court, with an oval platform, of dimension 15 meters long and 10 meters wide, on the top. The tomb was made of stone and earth dug out from the hill.

A stone coffin covered by granite top was placed on the top platform. According to the experts with the Jiaohe Archaeological Research Institute, the coffin appeared to belong to the king of an early tribe based on the dimensions of the site.

The tombs are part of the Xituanshan cultural ruins site, which dates back 3,000 years to China's Bronze Age period.

The ruins were excavated in Jilin in 1950. Ancient hunting and domestic tools including a stone knife and axe, bronze and earthen ware have also been unearthed from the stone coffin and six other smaller graves.

The discovery will provide valuable clues on study of ancient funeral customs and the tomb structure and culture of ethnic groups in the area.