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'Nail grave' finally removed from construction site in China

Jon Woo / Reuters

Villagers carry a gravestone of an ancestral tomb away from a construction site in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, China on December 18, 2012.


Workers lay the foundations for a residential complex around a solitary tomb site in Taiyuan on December 6, 2012.

A tomb which was left standing in the middle of a Chinese construction site began to be exhumed on Tuesday.

Helped by local villagers, family members relocated four coffins containing the remains of the deceased, Reuters reports.

For seven months a 33-foot mound of earth containing the tomb, the sole survivor from a cemetery that had previously occupied the site, had stood at the center of a building project in the city of Taiyuan, Shanxi province.

Grave interruption: Building around a tomb in China

Some reports had called it a "nail grave" — a variant on the term "nail house", which describes those lone homes that stand in the way of development, like nails stuck in a board that can't be pounded down with a hammer.

'Nail house' holds up traffic as homeowners fight local government

According to local reports cited by Reuters, the family did not fulfill their agreement with village officers which had required them to move the tomb before December 15, saying instead that they were waiting for an auspicious date to perform the relocation. 

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Jon Woo / Reuters

Villagers stand around an ancestral tomb which is being relocated in Taiyuan on December 18, 2012.

Jon Woo / Reuters

Villagers carry coffins containing remains from an ancestral tomb in Taiyuan on December 18, 2012.