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No excavation of Qianling Mausoleum, official says

2012-01-17 17:17     Web Editor: Zhang Chan comment
A scene of Qianling Mausoleum (Xinhua Photo)

A scene of Qianling Mausoleum (Xinhua Photo)

( Shaanxi Administration of Cultural Heritage confirmed on Monday that there was no proactive excavation taking place at the 1,300-year-old Qianling Mausoleum, the tomb of famous Tang Dynasty Empress Wu Zetian.

On January 12, a rumor spread online that the administration had started to dig out the Qianling Mausoleum, which the curator of the museum quickly denied, saying that "there will be no excavation of the tomb in at least 50 years."

Located 80 kilometers northwest of Xi'an, the capital city of Shaanxi Province, the Qianling Mausoleum is the tomb of Wu Zetian and her husband, Emperor Gaozong of the Tang Dynasty (618-907). It is the only tomb in China that contains the remains of an emperor and an empress.

It is also the best preserved ancient tomb in China, and has not been looted. Historical attempts to rob the tomb ended in failure, and China plans to preserve and build the mausoleum into an archaeological park in the future, according to the local cultural heritage bureau.

Discussions about the excavation of Qianling began many years ago, but applications to open the tomb have never been approved by the central government. And since the government has stood firm on its principle of no active excavation of imperial tombs, protecting the tombs will remain the priority.

In addition, because the technology to excavate tombs while protecting them is not mature enough, the government won't risk excavating Qianling.

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