Chinese archaeologists have discovered a group of 102 unidentified graves, 40 percent of whom were children, in the Pamir Mountains, in the westernmost part of China.
The tombs, found in the Autonomous Prefecture of Kezilesu ethnicin the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, containing wooden coffins with bodies stuffed inside and stoneware, ceramic and copper objects believed might have been used in ritual sacrifices, Ai said Tao, the Archaeological Institute of Xinjiang.
"The tombs group covers an area of 1,500 square meters on a cliff 20 meters high, a rare location for tombs," Ai said, adding that his team was greatly surprised to find so many bodies of children. "Although further research is needed to determine the reason for the death of so many young people of that tribe."
According to experts, have also unearthed a wealth of well-preserved utensils made of pumpkins, some of which had been placed inside the coffins.
"The custom of burial is the first of its kind found in Xinjiang," said Ai.
It is believed that the tombs date from the Tang Dynasty (618-907), a time when the economic and cultural exchanges between China and the West prospered through the ancient Silk Road.
"The shape of the sample felt-covered coffins that Chinese culture had a great influence on the lives of the local residents about 1,300 years ago," said Yu Zhiyong, director of the Archaeological Institute of Xinjiang.
The graves were discovered during construction of a local hydropower project last year.
Autonomous Prefecture Kezilesu Kyrgyz ethnicity was an important step in the ancient Silk Road.