Olymphic discovery

25 April 2008

China: Construction work on the shooting range for the Beijing Olympics in 2008 has been suspended following discovery of imperial tombs at the site.

According to reports in the local media the burials are believed to be 500 years old and date back to the Ming dynasty and may be those of eunuchs who served the imperial court. Coins, ceramics and jade were also found in the tombs.

Work on the shooting range, located on Beijing's western outskirts, began in 2004 but has been stopped while archaeologists carry out investigations at the site. According to the organisers, grave site and relics are often found on building projects in Beijing but most are removed or destroyed before experts can examine them.

No date has been set for construction to restart and the organisers have declined to comment on how the discovery will impact on the Olympic construction programme.

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