Archaeologists Uncover Treasure in Chinese River

明十三陵定陵出土的心形金首饰 / The golden jewelry excavated from The Ming Tombs, Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), China

Archeologists in China have unearthed some major booty. More than 10,000 items made from gold and silver were found more than 10 meters into the Earth at bottom of the Minjiang River in Sichuan province.

Some say these gems, which include iron weapons and golden coins, offer proof to the tales of “The Yellow Tiger,” a peasant king who is said to have ruled Sichuan during the early Ming Dynasty. His real name was believed to have been Zhang Xianzhong. And if legend holds true, he went down in a blaze of glory back in 1646 when an imperial army sunk his armada causing him to drown with the goods.

“The objects uncovered are the most direct and compelling evidence to identify the area where the battle was fought,” said Wang Wei, a Chinese archaeologist.

Scientists began to unearth precious metals from the area before 2010, when it became a protected site. But that didn’t stop would-be treasure hunters. Police have arrested more than 31 suspects and confiscated their loot, along with their diving equipment.

Archeologists then went in last January with pumps to drain the waters and uncover the merchandise.

About Andrew Burke 145 Articles
Editor-in-Chief Andrew Burke is a lifelong aficionado of all things Chinese. He studied Mandarin while living in Taiwan for six years and now works as a digitization specialist at the Yenching Library, which specializes in Asian books and documents, at Harvard University where he also studies topics related to China, Chinese, Asia and foreign affairs.