Ancient Chariots and Horses

What happens to your pets when you pass away? In the old Chinese culture in which Confucius roamed 3,000 years ago, a pet’s fate wasn’t so good. But a recent find is undeniably fascinating.

About 600 years before the birth of Christ, great leaders traveled across the Chinese countryside in grand chariots pulled by regal horses. Though we can’t be sure these animals were considered “pets,” they certainly were important to their owners. During the time of the Chinese Zhou Dynasty, for example, people who saw harnessed horses arrive knew that someone of high social stature and wealth would be riding in the chariots that followed behind. It’s a lifestyle we can’t fully comprehend, but thanks to a recent archeological find, we now have 3-dimensional, if monochromatic, view of such a sight.

Researchers have found a perfectly preserved tomb—about the size of an 18-wheeler truck—which contains the 3,000-year-old remains of chariots and horses. It seems that such items, along with valuable pottery and jewelry, were typically buried with their owners. But the most valuable find among everything were those horses and ancient chinese chariots, researchers say. They have painstakingly unearthed these chariots, which remain upright, plus the skeletons of the many horses that served their masters until death. And for all of us pet lovers, here’s relieving news: the horses were dead before burial.

See what the remains of the tomb, chariot and horses look like here.

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