Editor's note: Confirmed by historic documents, archaeological excavations and oracle bone inscriptions as the capital site of the late Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BC), Yinxu or the Yin Ruins is usually regarded as the cornerstone of the project on tracing the origins of Chinese civilization launched by China in 2001. As a key component of world civilization, Yinxu has provided solid evidence for the continuity and pluralistic and integrated pattern of Chinese civilization, and was inscribed in the UNESCO world cultural heritage list in 2006. Together with oracle bone inscriptions, Yinxu has extended recorded Chinese history to nearly 1,000 years earlier than previously believed. Starting on October 25, we, together with HICC and Yinxu scenic spot, are launching a series of videos about Yinxu to help you gain a deeper understanding of it. Here is the 8th episode: Demystifying China's Earliest Imperial Tomb Complex.
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Serving as a cemetery of the kings in the late Shang Dynasty and a place for sacrificial activities, the tomb complex of Yinxu or the Yin Ruins covers an area of 2.14 hectares, where 13 large tombs, over 2,000 sacrificial pits and subordinate tombs were discovered. The world-renowned Hou Mu Wu Ding (a sacrificial vessel crafted as a burial tribute) was also unearthed here. Besides, an incredibly large number of bronze vessels, jade articles and pottery wares have been discovered so far. Most of the tombs have 4 passages, with a large tomb chamber, luxurious coffin, abundant and exquisite burial objects, and a large number of human and animal sacrifices. The tomb complex of Yinxu is the earliest and the most structurally-intact imperial tomb cluster ever discovered in China, representing the highest level of early imperial cemetery construction in ancient China. (Video: Zhao Hanqing & Yang Jiaxin)