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Tomb of warlord Cao Cao found in China

Chinese archeologists working in Henan province believe they have found the tomb of Cao Cao, a 3rd century general and ruler known for his ruthlessness.

Chinese archeologists working in Henan province believe they have found the tomb of Cao Cao, a 3rd century general and ruler known for his ruthlessness.

Officials say they have discovered a 740-square-metre tomb with the remains of three people in Xigaoxue, a village near the ancient capital of Anyang in central Henan province.

They have been working more than a year at the complex, which contains a long passage leading to an underground burial chamber the right size for a king.

Among the relics recovered are tablets carrying the inscription "King Wu of Wei," a title given to Cao posthumously.

Cao was skilled in poetry and martial arts and considered to be a military genius.

He ruled northern China from 208 to 280 A.D. during the Three Kingdoms period, when what is now modern China was divided into three kingdoms.

A crafty tactician from the time he was young, Cao appears as an unscrupulous villain in the historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

Though the novel and the opera and movies based on his life are fictional, Cao Cao was known in his lifetime for his brilliance at outsmarting his enemies and for reforms such as improved agriculture and education within his kingdom.

There is a common saying in Chinese "speak of Cao Cao and Cao Cao arrives" which is equivalent to the English expression "speak of the devil."

Inside the tomb were stone tablets identifying it as Cao Cao's. Also found inside the tomb were 250 artifacts including gold, silver, and pottery, the remains of a man in his 60s, and the bones of two women. The bones are believed to belong to Cao Cao, his empress wife, and her female servant.

Some tablets had been recovered from tomb robbers, authorities said.

"The stone tablets bearing inscriptions of Cao's posthumous reference are the strongest evidence," archaeologist Liu Qingzhu, of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said in an interview with China Daily.

"No one would or could have so many relics inscribed with Cao's posthumous reference in the tomb unless it was Cao's."

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