Thursday, July 20, 2006

Good idea Hands off ancient tombs: experts
Many experts have confirmed that the Qianling Mausoleum is truly one of China's most outstanding examples of an imperial tomb.

It is so special because it was carved out of a mountainside, and is estimated to contain about 500 tons of cultural relics including jewels, calligraphy, paintings, silk and ceramics. And it is virtually unique because it has never been robbed.

Given its virtually incomparable nature, any proposal to excavate the site is bound to spark controversy.

With their plan to investigate the site, archaeologists from Northwest China's Shaanxi Province, where the mausoleum is located, have kick-started the latest debate on this thorny issue.

This is sort of an opinion piece. It's the eternal dilemma. The issue highlighted in the article is whether or not certain organic items can be preserved once they are unearthed:

Many archaeologists insist that the conditions within the tombs are usually much more stable, pointing out that the relics will be better preserved if they stay in the tomb.

Remember a couple of years ago when a big television event opened a sarcophagus in Egypt? Within minutes and on camera the mummy inside literally turned to dust. All so a bunch of us could gawk at it for a couple of minutes.

They don't mention whether or not looting would be a problem if it were left as-is. One would think not if it's still sitting there known as such.