Posted on July 12, 2004

Ancient European Remains Found In Qinghai

Chinaview, Jul. 6

XINING, (Xinhuanet) — Archeologists confirmed that the human skeletons discovered this May in northwest China’s Qinghai Province belonged to three Europeans who lived in China over 1,900 years ago.

“The physical characteristics of the bones showed it is a typical European race,” said Wang Minghui, an expert with the archeological institute under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

The skeletons were spotted at Zhongchuan Town of the province’s eastern most Minhe Hui and Tu Autonomous County.

Since 2002, archeologists have unearthed nine tombs of Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD) at a construction site of a brickfield in the town, but it was not until this May that they felt the skeletons in two tombs “very special”, said Ren Xiaoyan, deputy director if the provincial archeological institute, who added they invited Wang, who specializes in human bone identification, to take part in the study on the findings.

Qinghai is on the southern section of the world-known land trade corridor — the Silk Road, linking China with Central and Western Asia and to the eastern shores of the Mediterranean begins in the country’s northwest and runs 7,000 kilometers.

Serving as an important bridge for the economic and cultural exchanges between the East and the West, the area, which the Silk Road covered in China, used to see throngs of Indian, Persian, Arabic, Greek and Roman people.

Ren said the tomb shape, the burial articles and the way they were put in the tomb are all typical in Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220), which proved the three westerners had lived here for a long time and were accustomed to local traditions and customs.

“Although so far, we have been not sure of the country the three Europeans came from and there might be a large number of such ‘westerners’ living here at the ancient time,” said Ren.

Such European skeletons have only been revealed in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, a neighboring region which is to the northwest of Qinghai, so the discovery this time is of great importance for the study of the ancient society in Qinghai, said Wang.