Pieces of China’s oldest stone arch bridge retrieved, repaired

More than 30 relics from China’s oldest stone arch bridge have been repaired, the first time such work has been undertaken.
The items are mostly sections of the bridge guardrail of the Zhaozhou Bridge (趙州橋).
Also known as Anji Bridge (安濟橋), it stands over the Xiaohe River in Zhaoxian county, north China’s Hebei province. Built during the Sui Dynasty (581-618), it is the world’s oldest open-spandrel segmental stone arch bridge. Since the 1950s, archaeologists have retrieved more than 1,000 pieces of guardrail from the river, which dated from many dynasties from the Sui to Qing (1644-1911). In April 2014, archaeologists started to repair 30 pieces, cleaning and reinforcing them.
Liang Shutai, an associate research fellow with the Hebei cultural relics preservation center, said that one piece had been broken into 260 fragments, and six people had spent seven days piecing it together.