In 1973, Chinese archaeologists excavated a tomb of considerable dimensions near Dingzhou. This tomb, which dates to the Former Han dynasty, yielded a rich array of funerary furnishings, including jadeware, goldware, bronzeware, lacquerware and a large cache of inscribed bamboo strips, with significant potential for study. Sadly, though, the tomb and its contents were struck by several disastrous events (robbery, fire, earthquake). These disasters severely affected the quantity and quality of the find and may have tempered scholarly enthusiasm for Dingzhou, which remains little-known to date. This paper, the first English-language specialized study of the topic, provides an overall account of the Dingzhou discovery; it draws attention to fundamental issues regarding the tomb (e.g. its date) and the manuscripts (e.g. their transcription); and it explores the significance of the tomb and its contents, and their potential importance for the study of early imperial Chinese history, philosophy, literature and culture.