Ancient tomb of China's ‘first female PM’ discovered


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The Independent Online

The ancient tomb of a woman described as China’s “first female prime minister” has been discovered.

Archaeologists confirmed this week that a tomb discovered recently near an airport in Xianyang, Shaanxi province, belonged to Shangguan Wan’er, one of the most powerful women in China’s history, who lived from AD664-710.

As well as being a renowned politician, she was also a respected poet, and a trusted aide of China’s first female ruler, Empress Wu Zetian, during the Tang dynasty.

The grave was described as a major discovery, despite it being badly damaged. “The roof had completely collapsed, the four walls were damaged, and all the tiles on the floor had been lifted up,” Geng Qinggang, an archaeology research associate in Shaanxi, told Chinese media, according to the BBC.

“Hence, we think it must have been subject to large-scale, organised damage, quite possibly damage organised by officials,” he said.