China finds ancient tomb of `woman prime minister`
Beijing: The tomb of the most influential woman "prime minister" in the Tang Dynasty (618-907) was discovered in northwest China`s Shaanxi Province earlier this week.
The tomb, which is 36.5 metres in circumference and 10.1 metres in depth, was recovered in damaged state and only a few burial accessories could be excavated, according to the Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology.
Engravings inside the tomb confirm the grave belongs to Shangguan Wan`er (664-710), an influential woman politician and a poet during the regime of Empress Wu Zetian (624-705), China`s first woman ruler, Xinhua quoted archaeologists as saying.
"Archaeologists believe it was not damaged by common grave robbers but by officials in ancient China," said Yu Gengzhe, a history professor at Shaanxi Normal University.
Her epitaph has nearly 1,000 words that record the details of Shangguan`s life, year of death and tomb location.
The findings have "major significance" for ancient Chinese literature studies, say experts.
Shangguan was killed in a palace coup in 710. But her legend remains the theme of many films and TV series in China.
The archaeological site of the tomb was closed for cleaning and preservation work, said the officials.
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