Twelve squares are visible on the coffin cover in the northern tomb.
A dozen mysterious squares were found on the innermost cover of a coffin excavated from the 2,000-odd-years-old tomb in Lu'an city, Anhui province Sunday.
On 8:30 am, archaeologists began to open the coffin in the northern tomb. As they had expected, it was a triple coffin divided by three covers-the top cover, the middle one and the innermost one under which the occupant of the tomb rested.
After the middle cover was opened and cleaned, six pairs of squares appeared, lining up in order. They looked like decorative patterns on modern security doors.
Opinions vary about what the squares suggest. Li Dewen, professor of the Anhui Provincial Cultural Relics and Archaeology Institute, said in a deliberate way that they are merely decorative patterns. Wang Xin, who is in charge of the archaeological excavation, tended to believe that something may be suggested for the squares, however, it is hard to tell what the suggestion is before the inmost coffin cover is lifted, he said. The twelve squares may be associated with the calendar, in which there are twelve months in a year and twelve hours in a day, Yao Zhizhong, professor of the Lu'an -based West Anhui University said.
The opening of the inside coffin scheduled for Sunday afternoon will be postponed. It is likely to be opened after being moved to another place along with the coffin in the southern tomb.
(by Zheng Weiling)