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Underwater Mystery Unravels

BEIJING , June 4 -- Yesterday morning Chinese archaeologists began their first ever underwater exploration of a huge archaeological site deep in Fuxian Lake in Southwest China's Yunnan Province, according to China Daily. The exploration has kicked off a large archaeological campaign aimed at solving the mystery of the ancient underwater city.

A total of 14 archaeologists, who have been preparing for the event since mid-May, investigated the lake bottom.

In the lake the archaeologists found numerous precious cultural relics.

Initial radiocarbon dating of relics previously taken from the lake indicates that the site might be remains of buildings from the Han Dynasty (206 BC - 220 AD). But this is yet to be proven.

The cultural relics found include a stone cone of about 100 kilograms with figures on it. So far archaeologists have not reached an agreement on whether the figures on the stone are marks engraved by people or the results of natural forces.

Renowned archaeologists including Liu Qingzhu , director-general of the Institute of Archaeology with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, have developed some postulations.

Some believe the stone is from an ancient house. Others estimate that the figures on it represent snakes, a totem of the ancient Dian Kingdom.

Based on the scale, patterns and structure of the underwater buildings, many experts believe that remains in the lake are those of the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Dian.

Among the relics found at the underwater site were a pot and a stone wall 30 metres in length, 3.5 metres in width and 4 metres in height.

The relics will be sent to the local cultural relics authority.

The exploration report will be publicized within two months , and it is hoped that the mystery of the underwater site will be solved in the near future.

The site, about 60 kilometres southwest of Kunming , the capital city of Yunnan Province , is situated deep in Fuxian Lake in Chengjiang County, China's second deepest lake.

Fairy tales about a sunken city in the lake have long circulated in Chengjiang. But it was not until 1992 , when an underwater explorer called Geng Wei discovered pieces of stone , that the site first attracted public attention.

By using sonar devices, experts estimate that the site is 1, 200 metres by 2 , 000 metres in size.


-- source: xinhuanet


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