Officials have announced a major discover of over 10,000 items dating from the Ming Dynasty period. The gold and silver artifacts are part of a treasure dating back 300 years and were discovered at the bottom of a river in the Sichuan Province in China. The monumental trove, which has been lost for over 300 years was unearthed this week by a team of archaeologists.
Included in the find were a large number of gold, silver, and bronze coins. The items were recovered at the junction of the Minjiang and Jinjiang rivers about 50 kilometers (31 miles) south of Chengdu according to a spokesperson for the government archaeologists. Also included in the cache were pieces of jewelry, utensils, and iron weapons, which included swords, knives and spears. The Relics were discribed as a major find by the director of the Sichuan Provincial Cultural Relics and Archaeology Research Institute said Monday.
Many items, have already been restored to their original condition. Most of the items still feature impeccably embossed patterns characteristic of the Ming Dynasty. It has been widely believed that the river junction was the site of a major battle in 1649. Now with the discovery of the relics and treasure, that belief seems to have been confirmed.
According to historians, the battle took place during a peasant uprising lead by Zhang Xianzhong and a large force of Ming Dynasty soldiers in 1649. The battle is believed to have included over a thousand boats many of which were loaded with money and jewels. The battle left hundreds dead on both sides and saw many of the boats sank during the conflict.
“The objects uncovered are the most direct and compelling evidence to identify the area where the battle was fought,” Chinese archaeologist Wang Wei told Xinhuanet. The excavation of the river began in January to take advantage of the dry season and low tides. The team manned water pumps day and night to drain the river bed and had to dig about 15 feet into the riverbed before finding the first of the lost items.
A spokesperson said that thus far, the archaeology teams have excavated an area covering 90,000 square feet, or about two and a half acres. They say they still have about the same amount of area to explore and the team expects to unearth even more artifacts and treasures before the project concludes in April.