By Benjamin Cost
Police have apprehended a network of thieves, who under the guise of kimchi vendors, attempted to raid an Eastern Zhou Dynasty Tomb in Hubei province’s Xiangyang city. These high-end grave-robbers had rented a building in Tuanshan Town to serve as the false headquarters of their kimchi operation, and tunneled under the structure to the tomb, where authorities fortunately nabbed them before they could pilfer any artifacts.
While perhaps mildly amusing, this raid marks the latest in a long series of tomb raids in China, which has seen almost a thousand incidents in the past two years, mostly in Shaanxi province. Many of these raids proved frighteningly sophisticated, featuring bulldozers, explosives, and even night-vision goggles and oxygen tanks. Wei Zheng, an archaeologist at Peking University, stated this past January, ”Before, China had a large number of valuable ancient tombs and although it was really depressing to see a tomb raided, it was still possible to run into a similar one in the future. Nowadays too many have been destroyed. Once one is raided, it is really difficult to find a similar one.”
And judging by this recent instance, it looks like tomb-raiding won’t be letting up anytime soon.