Bulldozers clearing ground to build a hotel got a big surprise in 1983 when they uncovered the intact tomb of Emperor Wen Di located 20 metres underground. One of the great Chinese archaeological discoveries of the '80s, the emperor's tomb contained not only the skeleton of the king but also 15 other skeletons believed to be the king's guards, cooks, concubines, and a musician who were all buried alive to attend him in death.
A Chinese ruler from 137 to 122 BC, Emperor Wen Di's tomb was so well prepared it seemed like it was just waiting to be found. Clearly showing off the accomplishments of the southern empire, the tomb's 7 parts have since been restored and its treasures including musical instruments, weapons and jewellery that were all buried along with the the king and his courtiers have been placed in the adjoining Nan Yue Museum.
The tomb itself is built of stone slabs and is remarkably compact. In fact when you see it you'll find it hard to believe how much was fitted inside and it's measurements of only 10.85 metres in length and 12.43 metres in width explain a little bit about why it took building a hotel to find it.
Something else special about the tomb is the fact that it's the only tomb of the early Western Han Dynasty that has murals on its walls. The tomb also yields the oldest imperial seal discovered in a Chinese tomb with the name “Zhaomo” indicating that not so humble Emperor Wen considered himself equal in rank to the Han ruler.
Interestingly it's not just Chinese artefacts that can be observed at the museum and along with pieces from Iran, Greece and Central Asia; you can see a Persian silver box believed to be the earliest imported product found in China.