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China: Around The Nation

Chinese villagers’ unearthed ‘treasures’ turn out to be unexploded Japanese bombs from war

Family finds warheads buried under house during renovations

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 April, 2017, 3:23pm
UPDATED : Monday, 12 June, 2017, 12:53pm

Metal items discovered by villagers at an archaeological site in Hubei last week that were thought to be ancient brassware have been identified as unexploded second world war munitions.

A rural family in Daye found the ageing warheads under their house while renovating the old building, Chutian Metropolis Daily reported, and believed they had stumbled upon a treasure trove.

The numerous pieces were of various sizes but all had large conical heads and fine, spiral screws over relatively short tails.

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Daye was one of the most important bronze production sites in ancient China, thriving from the Western Zhou (1046-771BC) to the Song (960-1279) dynasties. Archaeologists have found more than 360 underground copper mining tunnels in the city, as well as the ruins of seven large furnaces.

Local farmers had unearthed a large amount of early bronzeware, including goblets, weapons and artefacts of unknown purpose, many with the delicate and distinct features of the Chu culture, a sub-branch of Chinese civilization in the Yangtze River region.

Village cadres heard of the discovery and ordered the family to hand their findings over to the government as, in China, all ancient artefacts belong to the government. The family refused and the cadres called in police and government officials, who threatened to take the artefacts by force if the family did not cooperate.

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After thorough examination, the authorities concluded the 161 items were all explosive warheads left behind by the Japanese army during their occupation of the city. The village was used by the Japanese as a military stronghold.

The local government said the warheads would be buried back in the ground locally while arrangements were made in the near future for their safe transportation and safe disposal.