GUANGHAN CITY, Sichuan Province, southwest China (Reuters/CBS Newspath) - Archeologists have discovered more than 1,000 pieces of relic, including a 3,000-year-old gold mask, at six newly unearthed sacrificial pits at the legendary Sanxingdui Ruins site in southwest China's Sichuan Province.
China's State Council Information Office held a global promotional event at the Sanxingdui Museum on Friday to reveal the latest archaeological excavation achievements at the site, deemed one of the greatest archeological finds of the 20th century.
One of archeologists' most impressive findings so far is the remnants of a 3,000-year-old gold mask, with the outline of its ears and mouth intact.
In the No. 8 pit, the largest of all the sacrificial areas, archeologists have unearthed more than 1,800 pieces of relic, including sacred trees, gold artifacts, and copper masks, in a nearly 20-cm-thick layer of ash.
"Our previous explorations showed that the metal reactions in the No. 8 and No. 3 pits were the strongest, particularly the middle of this pit [No. 8]. So far our excavation findings are basically in line with the detection results. We are looking forward to it, that is, we will be able to achieve more fruitful findings further down," said Cai Ning, a post-doctoral fellow at Peking University's School of Archaeology and Museology.
Covering 12 square kilometers, Sanxingdui is located in Guanghan City, about 60 kilometers from the provincial capital of Chengdu. It is believed to be what is left of the Kingdom of Shu, which dates back at least 4,800 years and lasted over two millennia.
The site was accidentally discovered by a farmer when he was digging a ditch in the 1920s.