A history as old as China’s is a smorgasbord for archaeologists. The ancient culture continues to reveal long-hidden layers, adding to an already complex past. The latest from this vast country covers a remarkable trove, from revealing missing links to what games the nobility played to how the climate brought death to dynasties. Even more intriguing are the new mysteries and legends proving to be true.
10. A Legend’s Treasure
A river in China is said to be strewn with treasure. The legend goes that during a peasant revolt, their leader led a 100-boat convoy down the Minjiang River. The gold-carrying ships were ambushed on their way south in the modern Sichuan Province. During the battle, the precious cargo sunk to the bottom and away into the world of myths. It took centuries and surprised construction workers to prove that the story was real.
In 2005, a crew was working on the banks where the Minjiang and Jinjiang rivers meet and came upon seven ingots of silver stuck in the gravel. Archaeologists used pumps and retaining walls to cordon off and drain part of the Minjiang. This one area, measuring some 10,000 square meters, yielded a vast amount of valuables. Over 10,000 artifacts of gold and silver were found, including ingots, jewelry, and coins. Bronze items and weapons were also among the legendary hoard. Experts could date many of the artifacts to when the fight was said to have occurred, sometime between 1368–1644.