Shigushan Tomb of Western Zhou Dynasty (c. 11th century-771 BC), Baoji, Shaanxi province. Photo provided to China Daily
The State Administration of Cultural Heritage announced its Top 10 list of China archeological discoveries for 2013 on April 9 in what has been dubbed the Academy Awards of Chinese archeology.
One of 2013's most eye-catching discoveries for the public was the tomb of Emperor Yang, the last monarch of the Sui Dynasty (AD 581-618). The tomb was singled out for recognition, along with nine other discoveries.
"Having strong public influence is only a part of our criteria, which emphasizes a candidate's academic significance. So some of the more widely talked about discoveries are not included in the final list," said Wang Wei, director of the Institute of Archeology under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and a member of a 21-judge panel.
"This list attracts the public's interest and enhances societal consciousness toward protecting cultural relics," Wang said.
The panel of judges included scholars from various institutions, including Peking University, the Palace Museum and the National Museum of China. They narrow the list of nominees to 25 before entering the final round of appraisals.
"It is a little unusual that the list doesn't include any Neolithic or earlier relics this year, though some candidates belonged to that period," said Tong Mingkang, deputy head of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage.
"Those were also great discoveries, but some of the discoveries from later dynasties are too extraordinary. It's really difficult to select the final 10 items in such a close competition," Tong said.
According to Tong, studies of an ancient bridge at the starting point of the Silk Road and a military pass dating to the Eastern Han Dynasty (AD 25-220) were among the most exciting items in the list and fill voids in their respective fields.
The administration's affiliated weekly, China Cultural Relics News, organized the first event in 1990 and has announced the annual list ever since.