THE tombs of Loulan, an ancient kingdom located along the famous Silk Road about 2,000 years ago, have been robbed, according to Wednesday's Guangming Daily.
A number of ancient tombs have been ruined and many beautiful mural paintings within the tombs have been destroyed, noted the newspaper.
Zong Tongchang, an archaeologist from the Palace Museum in Beijing, who visited the site at the beginning of this month, told the newspaper that on Feb 3, his team encountered a white car with no plates in the region of Lop Nur, in north-western Xinjiang Uigur Autonomous Region, where the relics were located.
The car fled on sight. Following the car's tracks, the team discovered the pillaged tombs, said Zong.
Several tombs had been opened and unearthed, and the wooden boards of the coffins with skeletons and silk fragments were scattered all over the tomb.
In an elegant, well-laid tomb beneath a pagoda, all five wooden coffins had been opened.
The ancient Loulan (Kroraina) kingdom was located at the eastern fringe of the vast, desolate Taklimakan Desert in southern Xinjiang.
According to historical records, it was a booming and famous city situated at the juncture of the southern and northern routes of the ancient Silk Road, some 2,000-odd years ago.
The city reached its climax during the Later Han Dynasty (25-220ad).
By that time, it had become a trading hub on the Silk Road.
The kingdom was buried by shifting sands during the fourth century and disappeared from historical records until it was rediscovered at the beginning of the last century. – People's Daily
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