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2,000-year-old tomb site under threat of termites
16/8/2005 17:38

The 2,000-year-old Mawangdui tombs in Changsha, central China's Hunan Province, have become infested with termites.
The tombs, dated to the Western Han Dynasty (206 B.C.- 24 A.D.), were excavated in 1972. More than 3,000 burial objects of silk writings, bamboo slips, lacquer ware, pottery, Chinese herbal medicine, as well as a well-preserved woman's corpse were found.
Many trees on the hills above of the relics site have been killed by termites, and the white ants have also been found on the trees at the foot of the hills.
A local resident said termites first appeared in the region about 20 years ago, and have been growing fast in recent years. Insecticide has been used at a small scale, but the ants were not eliminated.
An official from the Hunan cultural heritage protection department said the ancient tombs are located in humid forests on hills, which is an favorable environment for termites.
But with strengthened control measures, the tombs are not in danger at present, said the official.
Experts from the Changsha Termite Prevention and Control Center and the Hunan Provincial Cultural Heritage Bureau have raced to the site to investigate the situation.

Xinhua News