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Fuxianhu Lake History

Ancient City under Fuxian Lake

One day, Geng Wei, a specialized diver, found a strange phenomenon under the lake. He discovered many stone materials, including flagstones and stone strips with thick moss above them, could be seen.

Geng Wei believed the stones might be from a remote time. However, why were they underwater? Where did they come from? With these questions, Geng remember a mystical legend about the lake . Local people often said residents could see a city-like silhouette under the lake from the nearby mountains on a fine, calm day.

Was it the ancient city mentioned in the legend? In order to explore this riddle, Geng dove into the waters some 38 times to carry on surveys. He finally wrote a report to notify related official departments and experts in Yunnan Province of his findings.



Archaeology under the Lake

To unveil the mystery, a Chinese submarine archaeology team stationed in Fuxian Lake also became involved. Members had discovered lots of blocks scattered on the lake bottom. With the advanced use of detectors, they saw stones that formed a wall seen on a sonar display along with various flagstones. High stairs appeared in front of them. Flagstones covered with moss seemed to reveal an ancient sunken city.

The team members found the scope of the site under Fuxian Lake was extremely big, and the traces of construction were everywhere. After several days of observation and analyses, experts estimated the scope of the area is between 2.4 square kilometers to 2.7 square kilometers. 

 

 

Where is it from

Some experts speculate the site might be the ancient city of Yuyuan, which disappeared mysteriously many hundreds of years ago.

Han Shu  (a classic Chinese historical writing covering the history of the Western Han Dynasty, 206 BCE-9 CE), once recorded that Yuyuan City was north of Fuxian Lake.

Was the site under the lake the city recorded in Han Shu? To determine this point, the researchers first tried to determine whether the site's age tallied with history. They needed to find items that correlated with human life. After a half-month's survey, earthenware was spotted by inspection team members.

The experts believed that, from this earthenware, the site was possibly from the Warring States to the Eastern Han Dynasty. However, in order to find a more exact time, they had to find a subject that could be used for carbon 14 testing.



A City of Han Dynasty

After failing many times, team members finally found some shells attached to blocks. Through a test for carbon 14, an accurate time was discovered-the item was 1750 years old. This result proved the site was sunk during the Han period.
However in the Tang Dynasty, there were still records about Yuyuan City remaining on land. Therefore, the lost city is not Yuyuan.




Another Guess

Some experts believe that, from the structure of the under-lake construction, it is extremely similar to the construction styles of the ancient Dian Country, a country with a high level of civilization. After BC 86, it mysteriously disappeared.

But other experts are suspicious, saying it is too early to make this conclusion because archaeology is a long and complex process. Solving the riddle of the old city requires longer-term archaeological excavation and careful research.

 

 

 

 

 


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