News

Digging Into China

Archaeologists discover 110 new warrior statues in China

June 11, 2012
IMAGINECHINA/AP

Chinese archaeologists restore the newly-discovered clay warriors at the 2,000-year-old burial ground in Xi'an, China.

After being buried for centuries, 110 new warrior statues have been unearthed in Xi’an, China. The statues are part of a collection of life-size figures of warriors and horses called the Terracotta Army. The group of more than 7,000 life-size clay sculptures was built in 210 B.C. to guard the tomb of China’s first emperor, Qin Shihuangdi.

Shen Maosheng, from the Qin Shihuang Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum, said archaeologists had located another 11 warriors but have not yet begun to excavate, or dig up, the sculptures. "The most significant discovery this time around is that the relics that were found were well-preserved and colorfully painted," Maosheng told AFP.

The Warriors’ History

The new discovery adds 120 life-size soldiers to the army of more than 7,000.
IMAGINECHINA/AP
The new discovery adds 120 life-size soldiers to the army of more than 7,000.

The sculptures were discovered by a group of farmers in 1974. While digging a well, the workers found three pits filled with the lifelike figures, which were made of a type of terracotta clay. Experts say that long ago, Emperor Shihuangdi ordered the creation of the clay army, along with a 20-square-mile tomb in which to house it. For 36 years, 700,000 laborers crafted this underground city. It contains models of palaces and towers, and was protected from intruders by automatically-triggered crossbows. The city lay buried for more than 2,000 years.

A Worldwide Attraction

The face of each soldier looks different because it was carved individually. They have different hairstyles and facial expressions.
IMAGINECHINA/AP
The face of each soldier looks different because it was carved individually. They have different hairstyles and facial expressions.

Today, people from around the world visit China to see the terracotta warriors. What makes the soldiers so special? Each figure was individually carved, so they have different hairstyles, expressions and facial features. The details make the soldiers appear true to life. Inside the pit, the statues are arranged by military rank. The higher the rank, the taller the statue. The shortest statue is 5 feet 8 inches tall. The tallest is 6 feet 6 inches. The lower half of each soldier is made of solid clay, while the upper half is hollow. This makes it easier for the figures to remain upright.

 

Great Wall

The discovery of Xi’an’s 110 new warriors comes after a new finding about the Great Wall of China. An archaeological survey revealed the Great Wall of China is more than twice as long as previously thought. The wall was originally measured to be 5,500 miles but is now measured at 13,170 miles long. Beijing officials plan to open two new sections of the Great Wall and to expand other areas to make room for more tourists.


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