A grave robber attempting to access an ancient tomb in Shaanxi has died after the tunnel he dug with two accomplices collapsed on him, according to Xinhua.
The man, an unnamed 40 year old, had dug the 8-meter hole to access a cave containing tombs from the Western Zhou Dynasty (1046-771 BCE) on June 15. After the tunnel collapsed, his two companions fled and did not alert police until June 18, by which time the man had died.
Locals said that the men were not from the area, and had been by to inspect the region before.
Grave robbing is a huge problem in China. Artefacts command high prices due to domestic and international demand.
Lei Xingshan, archaeologist told the Sydney Morning Post, ”We used to say nine out of 10 tombs were empty because of tomb-raiding but now it has become 9.5 out of 10.”
In a recently reported case, a tomb with colourful murals in Shanxi had been robbed three times before archeologists discovered it.
[Image credit: Sina // Via: GB Times]