The archaeologists working on the latest excavation at the Los Terracotta warriors in Xi’an they say the project has revealed vital historical finds. The experts resumed work on well No. 1 of the Terracotta warriors in 2009 and They have unearthed 310 artifacts, including chariot parts, weapons and tools, as well as 12 clay horses in three groups and a few 120 more warriors.
“For the first time, we have found a painted bark shield on a cart, which is the first of its kind to be discovered in any of the three pits.", He says Cao Wei, conservator of Qin Shi Huang Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum.
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The shields worn by soldiers of the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) were 60 centimeters long and 40 wide, with red, green and white geometric patterns. "The shield was partially broken and is believed to have been the type used by high ranking officers as it is larger and has colored patterns”Says Zhang Weixing, a researcher on the archaeological team.
“The brightness of the paintings exceeded our expectations”He says, adding that it was a surprise to discover so many painted figures since archaeologists considered before the excavation that the paintings of the figures could be damaged because the well had been damaged in various ways.
This is the third excavation which takes place at the museum's No. 1 shaft in Xi’an, capital of Northwest China's Shaanxi Province. Yuan Zhongyi, a former conservative who presided over the first excavation of the well, says that one of the most important achievements of this is the disposition of the Qin army. “Archaeologists have speculated in the past that the ancient army might have a guard wing to prevent enemy attacks from that side, and this excavation confirms that the Qin army has guard wings.", He says Yuan.
According to Xu Weihong, the researcher in charge of the excavation from 2009 to last year, archaeologists found quite a number of warriors with brownish gray or black eyes and even a figure with a red iris and black pupils. "We also found a figure believed to have a high rank as it has colorful and well made armorXu says.
For a long time, there were two views on the burning warriors and horses: one was that they suffered spontaneous combustion caused by biogas produced by wood and other organic elements in the well; the other was that it had been a deliberate act. During this third excavation, archaeologists have found evidence confirming that the fire was deliberate.
“Now many archaeologists think that Xiang Yu (232-202 BC), one of the leaders to overthrow the Qin Dynasty, and his soldiers set fire to the well", He says Shen Maosheng, head of the archaeological team of the third excavation. "This find is one of the main achievements of the third excavation”.
According to the team leader, the archaeologists also found a grave with artists. “From the little located in the southeastern part of the mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of the Qin Dynasty, we have unearthed 41 figures that are very different from military figures. By their gestures, we can see that they are acting", He says Shen. “Among the artists, we found one that was 2.5 meters tall and all the figures have red, purple or black and red patterns.”, He commented.
According to curator Cao Wei, the third excavation will be completed in two to three years. "The third excavation began on June 13, 2009, and the public can see archaeologists working in the shaft”Says Cao, adding that more than 1'4 million people they have witnessed the excavation work in these three years.
Terracotta Warriors Facts.
Emperor Qin Shi Huang (259-210 BC) came to the throne of the Qing kingdom at the age of 13 and took the helm of the state at the age of 22. In 221 BC, annexed six rival states: Qi, Chu, Yan, Han, Zhao and Wei and established the first unified state in Chinese history.
Qin Shi Huang, or the First Emperor, recruited 700,000 prisoners to build his mausoleum immediately after ascending the throne in order to guarantee his peace and eternal sleep. They took 38 years in completing the project.
The Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum It is located on Lishan Mountain in Lintong District in Xi’an, capital of Northwest China's Shaanxi Province. The grave is square with a flat roof and is 76 meters high, 345 meters long and 350 meters wide from north to south, spanning 120,750 square meters.
An archaeological study shows that the burial site has indoor and outdoor areas. The mausoleum is not excavated and is well protected.
Three wells with a large number of terracotta warriors and horses were found one kilometer east of the mausoleum. Well number 1 was accidentally discovered in March 1974 when farmers from a nearby town found some broken clay figures while digging a well.
Archaeologists found the life-size clay figures to be Qin Shi Huang's warriors and horses. The clay figures were later called the Terracotta warriors.
In 1976, well number 2 was found 20 meters north of number 1, and number 3 25 meters north of 1 after a series of perforations.
The warriors and horses were arranged according to the battle formation of the Qin Dynasty, symbolizing that they maintain a continuous vigil before the mausoleum. The figures vary in their face and height, even in their facial expressions.
This discovery sparked a lot of interest both in China and abroad.
In 1975, a museum, which houses well number 1 and covers 16,300 square meters, was built with the permission of the State Council. The museum was officially opened to the public October 1, 1979.
The total area of the three wells extends up to 20,000 square meters and more than 8,000 clay figures have been excavated as well as a large number of chariots and weapons.
In 1980, they found two bronze chariots, the largest in China.
The first excavation of pit number 1 was carried out between 1974 and 1984, when 1,087 terracotta warriors and horses were unearthed.
Later in 1985, the museum began the second excavation, but it only lasted a year due to the limited technology and equipment. The warriors, who were supposed to stand, they were broken when they were unearthed.
After being repaired and restored by archaeologists, the Terracotta warriors show the way they were buried and based on the density of the soldiers, archaeologists believe that many of themthey are still buried.
The mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang and the Terracotta Warriors, which is one of the greatest archaeological discoveries in the world, are part of the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.
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