Lost kingdom found in China

China, Zhou
Archaeologists in China have discovered a forgotten ancient kingdom.

Working in Linfen city in the northern Shanxi province, the team of scientists found tombs with bronze artifacts bearing the name of the local ruler–Count of the Ba Kingdom. There was no previous record of this kingdom, although considering China’s vast history such surprises shouldn’t be, well, surprising.

The tombs date back to the Xizhou dynasty (1046 to 771 B.C.), also known as the Zhou dynasty. This was the longest-running dynasty in Chinese history and while the feudal rulers were powerful, there were many smaller kingdoms that came and went with the fortunes of politics and war. Apparently the Zhou chroniclers didn’t feel the need to record the Ba Kingdom, or maybe all the records got lost in the past 3,000 years.

Despite a bit of political chaos, the Zhou dynasty saw high achievements in art, like the bronze vessel above, the development of iron technology, and advances in writing.

Chinese archaeology is enjoying something of a renaissance thanks to greater funding and increased legal protection for ancient sites. It’s also facing some serious challenges as growing cities and rapid construction threaten ancient sites.

[Photo courtesy PericlesofAthens via Wikimedia Commons. This vessel is not one of the ones found in the Ba Kingdom tombs]