The Tomb of a Member of Yu Family Discovered in Zhejiang Province during Eastern Wu Period
From July to August 2017, Ningbo Municipal Institute of Archaeology and Yuyao Cultural Relics Preservation Administration conducted a salvage excavation in a robbed tomb located at south of Huangjiashan Mountain, Xuehu Village, Yuyao City, Zhejiang Province. According to excavation, this tomb was belonging to a member of Yu Family during Eastern Wu period (Three-Kingdoms period).
This tomb was a brick-chambered tomb with vaulted roof and in “凸” shape in plane, the gate of which was 1.05 m in length, 0.34 to 0.35 m in width and 1.2 m in residual height, and the bricks were laid in staggered joints. The vaulted passage presented in rectangular shape in plane and there was still a part of the barrel-vaulted ceiling left, which was laid in flemish bond masonry construction. The tomb chamber was in rectangle shape, using flemish bond as well. The sacrificial platform was in the front part of the chamber, which was 1 m in width and 0.08 m in height. There was no coffin or human bone discovered. The bricks were paved in shape of the character “人”at the bottom of the chamber and vaulted passage.
The aerial photo of the tomb
Some inscription bricks were found, which could be classified into 3 categories based on the content: 1 kind of calendar, 5 kinds of identities, and 2 kinds of auspicious words. The characters were cut in relief, molded in neat, which had more esthetic value.
The tomb was robbed more than once, therefore, only a few of celadon, pottery and candle stick fragments were found. The celadon pieces were repaired into 4 kinds of vessels, which were incense burner, wash, and so on. The vessels, which should be buried along with the dead, were neat and in the style of Eastern Wu. There was other piece of porcelain bowl which belonged to Tang Dynasty, so the tomb was robbed as early as Tang Dynasty.
Although the tomb was robbed, many inscription bricks were unearthed, providing rich historical information. According to the calendar brick, the tomb was no early than 264 BC. “虞君”(Mr. Yu) and “虞氏”(Family Yu) suggested that the tombs belonged to the Yu
Family in Eastern Wu Period. It was said that the tomb’s location, Lake Xue
, was buried many prominent family members of Yu-Yao in the period from Eastern Wu to the Southern Dynasties, therefore, the area should belong to the Yu
Rubbing from the epitaph
According to the inscription bricks, it could be learned that the owner of the tomb had two wives, one is Lady Chen from ancient county Wu, and the other is Lady Lei from county Poyang. The inscription that mentioned Lady Chen was rare, which could suggest that her family status might under Lady Lei. As the top one family among the four families in Kuaiji Area, the members of Family Yu were active from late Eastern Han Dynasty to Early Tang Dynasty, influencing the political and cultural areas. This archaeological excavation has significant value for the study of Family Yu
’s local culture. (Translator: Lang Langtian)