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The Emperor's New Tomb: Chinese Tourist Site Likely a Fake

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He's been blamed for the deaths of millions of his subjects—as well as the murder of his own father—the ancient Chinese emperor Yang Guang has also, apparently, put one over on thousands of tourists, even if he did so inadvertently.

According to a CNN Travel report by Frances Cha, archeologists recently discovered a tomb at a Yangzhou construction site, where tablets indicate that it was the actual resting place of the infamous ruler, who lived from 569 to 618. The site also features an adjoining tomb that may have belonged to Yang Guang’s empress.

The discovery throws a lot of shade on the nearby location that had, until now, been considered Yang Guang’s tomb, and which has been open to visitors since 2001.

To be fair, experts say, the previously recognized tomb may have been a “dummy tomb,” meant to throw off treasure thieves, but it turns out that the new, extra-well-hidden tomb had apparently been looted on its own, with only some lion-shaped door knockers and a jade-and-gold belt left behind.

Confusion may have also stemmed from the low favorability rating, as it were, of the emperor, who was killed in a mutiny. "We're still not sure whether it was the emperor's final resting place,” Shu Jiaping, head of Yangzhou's institute of archaeology, told Xinhua news agency. “Historical records said his tomb had been relocated several times.”

Meanwhile, tourists who don’t want to feel like a "dummy" for visiting questionable tombs might forget about the Yang Guang's resting place and focus on the functioning remains of his reign: He ordered the construction of the Grand Canal, and the reconstruction of the Great Wall.

Photo credit: © Wang Naisi/Xinhua Press/Corbis

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