Source: Xinhua | 2013-2-26 | ONLINE EDITION
A public cemetery uncovered in the city of Xi'an, capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province, was used for maids of the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907), an archaeologist told Xinhua today.
A dozen tombs, located in the west of the thousands-year-old city, were found in April, 2012, Liu Daiyun, a Shaanxi Archeology Research Institute researcher said.
Since then, the tombs have been examined.
"The structures of the tombs in this region are similar, and they have obvious characters of the Tang Dynasty. According to the epitaph of a 70-year-old maid, we deduced that the place was a public cemetery for maids of the imperial palace," Liu said.
Archaeological data showed the maids were buried individually. Archaeologists said that the epitaphs of each maid showed a specific and strict hierarchy in the imperial palace.
"There are two types of maids according to the epitaphs. Five of them died of old age, and the rest were "Wanggongni" -- maids who became nuns because the emperor they served died before them," Liu said.
Archaeologists also excavated a variety of funerary objects in the tombs, including lacquer, bronze, stone wares, animal figures and bronze waistbands.
"The discovery provides significant objects and literal materials for those researching the political system, lives, funeral customs and women in the palace of Tang Dynasty," Liu added.