Spirited Away

The citizens of Xiaoli village move lazily, a languor born of chronic underemployment. They're farmers by tradition, but exorbitant taxes have leeched any profitability from their profession. So, most hot summer days, the local peasants sit on concrete stoops, pant legs hiked up to their thighs, fanning themselves with the latest propaganda broadsheet from Beijing and waiting for dusk to fall. For it is only at night that Xiaoli comes alive.

Underneath this sad little village in Henan province is the rich legacy of five millenniums of Chinese history. The nearby city of Luoyang was the capital of...

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