Mystery of the Tomb
You are going to take the role of an archaeologist (archae=ancient/ologist=one who
studies) looking at tombs of people living in the past. You have unearthed many
different artifacts and now it is your job to describe what these objects are made for.
You will have to refer to this sheet often, so don’t close this page, simply click between
this page and the web page by pressing the between the buttons for Microsoft Word
and Internet Explorer at the bottom of the screen (if you don’t know how to do this, ask
your teacher or your neighbor for help.) You are going to answer all questions on this
sheet by typing the answer below the questions and then e-mailing your teacher the
document when finished. All answers must be in complete sentences. The web content
comes to you courtesy of Patricia Buckley Ebrey and the University of Washington.
Enter the first tomb, the Neolithic tomb at Dawenkou from 2300 BCE (that’s about
4,300 years ago!), by left clicking on the link below while holding the ctrl button. Come
back to this page and answer questions 1- 5
1. When was the Neolithic period?
2. What Chinese technologies were in use during the Neolithic period?
Look at the diagram of the tomb and the list of items that were found.
3. How would you describe the status of the woman in Tomb 10 and why do you
Look at the picture of the jade ax and answer the following questions.
4. How difficult do you think it was to make this ax head? Explain.
5. What might be the function of the hole?
Go ahead and check out the answer on the same page if you want (after answering the
top two questions of course.)
Let’s look at some more objects within the tomb. Go to the following web page and
answer questions 6-7.
6. What animal do you think the pottery at the bottom represents? (Don’t look at the
answer before you answer this question and the next. Try to use your
7. Why do you think this animal was important to the Neolithic culture that existed in
China at the time?
Now let’s jump ahead about a thousand years to about 1250 BCE (about 3,260 years
ago.) We will visit the Shang tomb of Fu Hao. The Shang Dynasty is traditionally known
as the Second Dynasty of China, ruling the largest unified part of China approximately
in the time between 1760 BCE and 1046 BCE.
8. What technologies were developed in ancient China by the Shang Dynasty
Look at the list of materials that were included in the tomb of Fu Hao.
9. Would you say that the person buried in the first tomb or Fu Hao was considered
to be more noteworthy of a person? Why do you think so?
10. Why do you think so many objects were buried with Fu Hao?
11. In the vessel at the bottom of the page there is an animal part carved on the
handle. What animal do you think it came from (I couldn’t guess myself).
Now we will look at some bronze objects and try to guess what each of them are used
for. There are five objects shown on the page. Type out what you think each object is
used for in your answers from the following link.
On the following page are objects carved from jade, a semi-precious stone. Jade is
delicate and easily cracks.
13. Looking at the objects what can you say about the skill of the artists that carved
these pieces? Use details to support your answer.
14. What do you think object in the second picture is used for? Why?
15. What similarities are there between the design of the bronze objects and the jade
16. What do you think this tells us about what Chinese artists and people liked in