Modern Chinese architecture has led to the design of some strange buildings. These designs reached such an extreme that recent legislation prohibited some of the weirdest shapes. However, construction on a new residential complex in central China is generating a different focus on building design. Buried underneath the site of the proposed housing center, construction workers discovered a mysterious ancient pyramid.
Archaeologists remain puzzled by the pyramid’s existence in Zhengzhou. Officials in the Henan province refer to the tomb as, “The Pyramid of Zhengzhou.” Next to the pyramid lies a cylindrical-shaped coffin. Despite all the Chinese media attention, this pyramid does not compare to the pyramids in Egypt. Whereas the Great Pyramid of Giza is 460 feet tall, the one in China is only 6 feet high. One month since its discovery, scholars familiar with the excavations in Henan believe the pyramid’s construction occurred during the Han Dynasty. This period spanned from 202 BC to 220 AD. Due to the success and prosperity of China under the Han Dynasty, researchers refer to it as China’s “Golden Age.” The fabled Silk Road, which connected the economies of Asia and Europe, developed during this time.
According to local traditions, an ancient village once sat on the site of the proposed housing complex in Zhengzhou. Archaeologists are reexamining those stories in light of the newly discovered tombs. In total, the currently excavated parts of the burial chamber holding the pyramid and cylindrical tomb are almost 25 feet wide and 100 feet long. Archaeologists believe that there may be other chambers in the surrounding fields.
The unique shape of the pyramid, and the initial dating to the Han Dynasty, have generated a number of vocal responses. The Henan Cultural Relic Bureau noted numerous other burial tombs with pointed roofs in the region. However, they all date from after the end of the Han Dynasty. Additionally, they are made of smaller bricks than the one in Zhengzhou. Other groups view the pyramid’s discovery as yet another sign of alien involvement in ancient China. This argument has been ongoing since the “discovery” of Maoling, the Great White Pyramid, after World War II. Maoling is the burial site of Emperor Wu of Han, a powerful ruler of the Han Dynasty. Excavations are ongoing at Zhengzhou in hopes of more precisely dating the pyramid and discovering who, or what, was buried inside.