China lists Tibet tomb site among its top10 archaeological discoveries of 2020

Face mask unearthed from the Sangmda Lungga Cemetery. (Photo courtesy: Xinhua)

(, Apr16’21) – While it remains busy dispatching the living Tibetan culture to the realm of antiquity in the name of national unity and security, China has listed a recently discovered tomb site in Tibet Autonomous Region in its list of the top 10 archaeological discoveries of 2020 released by the National Cultural Heritage Administration.

China presents such listing as “proof” that it cares about Tibetan culture, albeit a dead and buried one, it seems.

The Sangmda Lungga tomb site, located in Zanda (Tibetan: Tsamda) County in Ngari (Chinese: Ali) Prefecture) and first discovered in 2017, may provide evidence of prehistoric culture in Tibet, China’s official Xinhua news agency Apr 16 cited He Wei, a researcher with the regional relics protection institute, as saying.

Aerial view of excavation in the east area of the Sangmda Lungaa Cemetery. (Photo courtesy: Xinhua)

Carbon dating was stated to show the tomb site was in use from 366 BC to 668 AD. The report said Chinese archaeologists had unearthed wooden figurines from the site, the first time such figurines were discovered on the Tibetan Plateau.

“The tombs show the development of early archaeological culture in western Tibet and that Tibet interacted with the southern foothills of the Himalayas, Xinjiang, the Central Plains and other regions during the period,” Han Guohe, a panel member of final evaluation team, was quoted as saying.

The report said this was the third time an archaeological project in Tibet had been selected after the Chokong relics in Lhasa was selected in 1991 and the Gurugyam and Chuvthag cemeteries in Ngari Prefecture in 2014.


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