Ruins of ancient government building discovered in China

Archaeologists uncovered the ruins of a government building in Xixian, Shaanxi Province, North-West China. The office building is believed to have been a musical department of the Qin Dynasty (221-207 BC).

Overview of the excavation site (by Xinhua & Li Yibo)

The ruins measure 110 metres in length and 19,5 metres in width. The building was composed of four rooms of equal area with clay walls of 3 metres in thickness. According to archaeologist Zhang Yanglizheng the artefacts found at the site were mainly tiles and bricks, pieces of stone chimes, but also an ancient Chinese percussion instrument was discovered. According to the researchers, 23 pieces of the chime debris were found with inscriptions saying “beigongyuefu“, meaning “musical department of the north palace“.

Inscriptions of a government office building (by Xinhua & Li Yibo)

Judging from the inscription, the researchers believe the building used to be the government office of the musical department in ancient city of Xianyang in the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC). Archaeologists discovered that two of the four rooms were empty, which may indicate that the former office had been looted before being burned – as many of the remains bear marks of fire including cracks on the chime pieces. The researchers state that the looting may have been connected to the uprising that ended the Qin emperor’s reign. Historical records show that Xiang Yu, a prominent military leader and political figure during the late Qin Dynasty, set a fire after occupying the capital, Xianyang.

Archaeologists arranging ceramic finds (by Xinhua & Li Yibo)

(after Xinhua & Li Yibo)

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