Massive haul of relics unearthed at Old Summer Palace

Zhang Jialin China Plus Published: 2017-07-10 14:08:34
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An archaeological team has unearthed some 50,000 relics as part of a massive excavation at Yuanmingyuan, better known as the Old Summer Palace, in Beijing, reports China Central Television.

The dig site covers a combined area of around 7,000 square meters.

Divided into three phases, the excavation is designed to help map the ruins, as well as give visitors a better idea of how the Old Summer Palace once looked.

"We want to show visitors the rich underground layout of Yuanmingyuan through our archaeological excavation to give them a better understanding of the classical works at the site."

The current excavation phase began in 2013, and is due to be complete by 2020.

Excavations being carried out at Yuanmingyuan. [Photo: VCG]

Excavations being carried out at Yuanmingyuan. [Photo: VCG]

One excavation has uncovered pastel-colored tiles which were once the floor of a building known as Yan Ching Tang.

"It is even more exciting than unearthing gold and silver, because we're more interested in the historical value of the cultural relics," said Zhang Lifang, one of the archaeologists working on the site.

The team has surmised that the tiles were components of the hall's heating system.

"When we unearthed the tiles, there was still sand in them retaining heat," Zhang added.

Photo shows the pastel-colored tiles found in Yan Ching Tang. [Photo:]

Photo shows the pastel-colored tiles found in Yan Ching Tang. [Photo:]

Yuanmingyuan in western Beijing covers an area of 3.52 million square meters.

Dubbed the "King of Gardens," emperors from the Qing Dynasty would normally shift their court to Yuanmingyuan to try to escape the heat in the Forbidden City during the summer months in Beijing. The Qianlong Emperor adopted the site as his main residence, using the Forbidden City only for more formal affairs.

In 1860, an Anglo-French allied military force destroyed Yuanmingyuan, ransacking the cultural relics within it, at the end of the Second Opium War.

Photo shows the Ruins of Yuanmingyuan. [Photo: VCG]

Photo shows the Ruins of Yuanmingyuan. [Photo: VCG]

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