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The City of Changsha

A few years ago the very well preserved corpse of a woman who lived two thousand years ago was discovered in China. That discovery was made at Mawangdui, just a few kilometers west of the city of Changsha.

Changsha, located in the mid-Changiiang (Yangtze) River valley, is the capital of Hunan Province and its economic and cultural center.

It is a modern city with a long history. Since the founding of New China in i949 more than a thousand ancient tombs have Spring and Autumn Period (722-481 B.C.) and the Period of the Warring States (403-221 B.C.) and to the Han dynasty (206B.C.-220A.D.) that the area was inhabited more than four thousand years ago.

Mawangdui is the most famous of the archaeological sites, three ancient tombs of the Western Han Dynasty(206B.C.-23 A.D.) having been uncovered here in 1973. It was here, in one of these tombs, that the corpse of a woman w.as discovered. Astonishingly her entire body. including the exterior and interior organs, was extremely well preserved. Inscriptions on burial two thousand years ago.

The tomb was found twenty meters underground beneath an inconspicuous mound. Now, the entire burial chamber with all of its contents have been removed to a new museum built especially to house it in Changsha city proper. The museum is a two-story building with an underground chamber. Here you Can see a model of the tomb, photography of the excavators and archaeologists at work and fitted set of four coffins in which the body was found wrapped in multiple layers of silk and linen. Here too you can see the numerous burial objects unearthed from the tomb: elegantly designed lacquerware, pottery and bamboo articles, musical instruments and silk fabrics, all in surprisingly good condition. One silk garment measuring 128 centimeters in length weighs only 49 grams, so thin is the material. Displayed too is the charcoal and fine white clay which encased the sepulchral chamber and provided an air-and- watertight seal. It was this hermetic seal which helped to keep the corpse so weil preserved. You can see the corpse itself, with its interior organs removed, through a sealed glass, window. The temperature in the underground chamber is kept at -4℃(- 24.8F.), and even while the chamber is open to visitors, the lights are dimmed to prevent ultra-violet rays from destroying the ceils of the body.

Outside the old south gate is the No. 1 Normal School of Hunan province where Chairman Mao studies and worked for about seven years. On the wall of the main school building is the school’s name written in Chairman Mao’s calligraphy. He was a student here as a teacher of Chinese and as the headmaster of the primary by fire in 1938. The presrebuilt on the model of the old. Visitors can have a look at the classrooms, you will find a book on ethics which Chairman Mao read while he was at the school. The pages are crammed with his margin notes. Someone counted the words ill them and found there are over twelve thousand-a testimony to young Mao Zedong’s diligence.

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