Cao Cao evidence strong but not conclusive

09:42, January 15, 2010      

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A team of top researchers said Thursday they were unable to put the nail in the coffin in terms of determining whether a tomb belongs to Cao Cao, an ancient warlord.

The experts, members of the Institute of Archaeology at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that the tomb in Anyang county, Henan Province had some evidence it belongs to Cao Cao but it was not conclusive, said Wang Wei, the director of the Institute and the leader of team.

"It is of much possibility that the tomb is owned by Cao. But it is not a proper time to finalize it," Wang said at Thursday's forum where most of the archaeology experts from the team presented their findings.

Pan Weibin, who was in charge of the excavation, showed some 250 articles dug out from the tomb, including one iron mirror, two pottery figurines, three ancient coins from the East Han Dynasty (25-220), 59 markers and several iron weapons, relief stone sculptures and small golden and jade articles.

Wang Wei revealed three stone markers were found under a lacquered device that definitely stayed at their original place. The words engraved on them are of the same type and form of those on other markers dug out before.

Among the 59 markers found, seven are marked with words of "King Wu of Wei", which the experts believe was Cao Cao's title.

In Wang Wei's eyes, written materials like markers are the most direct evidence to support the view that the tomb belongs to Cao Cao.

"Written materials tell us the years and the grade of the tomb," he said.

"And the markers we use to support our investigation were all unearthed from the tomb."

Zhang Jun, an expert specializing in bone research, revealed that the two bones of women found together with the male skull showed an age of about 50 and 20 to 25 respectively.

The male skull, which they preliminarily believe to be that of Cao Cao's, was identified as older than 56 years old (Cao died at 66 years old and his wife at 70), judging from the skull and two teeth.

Zhang reiterated that DNA tests would not prove helpful in determining the identity of the tomb's owner.

A final ruling is expected at a later date, Zhang said without elaborating.

Source: Global Times
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