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Oracle tortoise shell discovered in W. China

Updated: 05 07 , 2013 19:39
Archaeologists claim that an oracle tortoise shell of the Tang Dynasty (618-917) they discovered in west China's Chongqing Municipality on Saturday extends China's history of oracle shell divination by hundreds of years.
The tortoise shell with a diameter of 15-20 centimeters was unearthed in the Tangfang Pier cultural relic site of Yunyang County, a historical site in the Three Gorges Reservoir area.
In ancient China, burning tortoise shells and bones and reading omens from the cracks was a popular way of divination in the Xia (21st century BC-16th century BC), Shang (16th century BC-11th century BC) and Zhou (11 century BC-221 BC) dynasties.
Before the discovery of this oracle shell of the Tang Dynasty, archaeologists had believed that the custom of tortoise shell and bone divination ended by the Wei (220-265) and Jin Dynasty (265-420), said Luo Erhu, professor with the archaeological department of Sichuan University.
"The tortoise shell of the Tang Dynasty, the first one ever discovered in China, proves that from the seventh to the tenth century, divination with tortoise shells or bones still prevailed among the people, which extends China's history of oracle bone divination by hundreds of years," said Luo.
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