Subway Workers In China Accidentally Demolish 3000-Year-Old Tombs

Guangzhou Subway
DruhScoff, Flickr

Workers installing a new subway line in Guangzhou, China’s third largest city, destroyed an ancient group of protected tombs by mistake during construction on the weekend. Some of the five tombs date back to the Shang Dynasty around 3,000 years ago.

The area, which had been set aside for further excavation and study, was intact on Friday night. When archaeologists returned to work on Saturday, the tombs had been obliterated.

The South China Morning Post reports that the group of tombs had been clearly marked and sealed off, and were of significant historical value. One of the metro project managers admitted that his workers had destroyed the group of tombs, but claimed the accidental destruction was due to a misunderstanding.

Representatives from the Guangzhou Archaeology Research Center contend it was impossible the construction workers could have missed the signs and plastic coverings marking the protected area.

This isn’t the first time ancient sites have been bulldozed in Guangzhou in recent times. Around 10 tombs have been destroyed during the construction of a new metro line. Numerous other historical buildings have been razed as well, usually without permission from authorities, as the city undergoes hurried expansion and development.

In part because of Guangzhou’s rapid development, more and more ancient sites have been discovered in recent years during surveying and excavation of new construction projects.