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China's Pompeii Discovered in Yunnan

BEIJING, June 13 - Yunnan provincial officials have disclosed for the first time the existence of a Chinese Pompeii. They report there is a large group of ancient buildings that resemble a city at the bottom of Fuxianhu Lake, according to the latest Beijing Review.

Fuxianhu Lake lies in the suburbs of Yuxi in central Yunnan, 60 km from the city of Kunming. The region has suffered earthquake damage several times. There are many local folk tales about the ancient Dian Kingdom, but little historical material had been found in the area prior to the discovery of the sunken city.

On March 13-15, 2001, a survey group composed of Beijing University professors, eco-archaeologists and two Yunnan Daily journalists reached the bottom of Fuxianhu Lake in a submarine called ¡°Blue Whale ¡±¡£ Using a series of high-tech measures, they succeded in observing and investigating the underwater relics of the ancient Dian Kingdom. The large number of resulting photos and analysis of hydrological data proved that the relics on the bottom of the lake were Dian Kingdom residences. The construction features are similar to those used in the building of the ancient Great Wall during the period of the ancient Dian Kingdom. The buildings were made of stone, and the processing of large stones is proof of the high level of civilization of the builders. The underwater city has different districts with different housing styles, stone paving and walls. Such differences are rare in existing ancient buildings.

The ancient city consists of about eight groups of stone buildings distributed in a 2-km-long, 1.2-km-wide area that covers about 2.4 square km. The eight building groups are of different sizes. Five groups lie together in the central part. The No. 4 group is located at depths ranging from 20 meters to 98 meters, and No. 6 and 7 groups are in 75-90-meter deep water.

Some experts believe the city may have sunk into the water during a huge disaster 2,000-3,000 years ago. But another theory is that something caused the lake water to rise. Further research will be necessary to determine what happened.

-- source: Xinhua News Agency

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