Suspected tomb of Chinese tyrant discovered

Updated: 2013-04-16 17:28


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NANJING - Chinese archaeologists said that a tomb unearthed in east Jiangsu Province might be the final resting place of an emperor known for his tyrannous reign about 1,500 years ago.

The 20-square-meter tomb in Yangzhou City might belong to Yang Guang, or Emperor Yang of Sui, the second and last monarch of the short-lived Sui Dynasty (AD 581-618), according to the city's cultural heritage bureau.

A gravestone excavated from the tomb confirmed the emperor's identity, while an inscription about the year of his death concurred with historical accounts, said Shu Jiaping, head of Yangzhou's institute of archaeology.

"But we're still not sure whether it was the emperor's final resting place, as historical records said his tomb had been relocated several times," Shu said.

The tomb was discovered last year at a construction site, adjoined with another tomb that archaeologists said might belong to the empress.

Artifacts unearthed from the tomb included a gold-jade belt and a loop-shaped copper handle.

A notorious tyrant in China's history, Yang Guang made millions of workers build palaces and luxury leisure boats. His legacy includes the Grand Canal, which was later increased to connect Beijing and Hangzhou in the world's longest artificial waterway.

The emperor was killed during a mutiny in 618 AD, which marked the end of the Sui Dynasty and may explain the relatively small scale of the extravagant emperor's tomb, researchers said.