Archaeologists all set to begin third excavation of terra-cotta warriors in ChinaJune 12th, 2009 - 2:04 pm ICT by ANI
New Delhi, June 12 (ANI): Archaeologists are all set to begin a third phase of excavation at the famous terracotta army site in China, hoping to find more clay figures and unravel some of the mysteries left behind by the “First Emperor”.
The army of terracotta warriors and horses was one of the greatest archeological finds of modern times. It was discovered in Lintong county, 35 km east of Xi’an, in 1974 by peasants digging a well.
The first formal excavation of the site lasted from 1978 to 1984 and uncovered 1,087 clay figures. A second excavation, in 1985, lasted a year and was cut short for technical reasons.
The third excavation will focus on a 200-sq m patch in the north-central part of the Number 1 pit, the largest among three pits at the site.
Archaeologists hoped to find more clay figures of high-ranking officers, according to Liu Zhancheng, head of the archeological team under the terracotta museum in Xi’an, capital of Shaanxi province.
Such high-ranking army officers are rare. The majority of the terracotta are archers, infantrymen and charioteers that the emperor hoped would help him rule in the afterlife.
The museum website said less than 10 such “armored generals” have been unearthed.
Liu also said the excavation will test preservation technology that the museum has spent decades developing to keep the undiscovered terracotta figures intact and retain their original colors.
In past excavations, richly colored clay figures were unearthed from the mausoleum of Qinshihuang (259-210BC), the first emperor of a united China, but once they were exposed to the air they began to lose their luster and turned an oxidized grey.
A museum archaeologist said the museum has been cooperating with a cultural relic department in Germany for years trying to find a satisfactory technology to preserve the color of the terracotta, and has “made some headway.”
But, he also noted that people should not put too much hope on seeing vividly colored terracotta from the upcoming excavation because “the No 1 pit was the most severely damaged among the three pits by a large fire”.
The State Administration of Cultural Heritage has approved the museum’s plan for the third excavation, and the excavation is likely to continue if it proves fruitful.
Wu Yongqi, curator of the museum, said that the 230-m by 62-m pit is believed to contain about 6,000 life-sized terracotta figures, more than 1,000 of which have been found in previous excavations. (ANI)
- China to begin fresh excavation of terracotta army site - Jun 09, 2009
- 100 more terracotta warriors found in China - Jul 17, 2009
- Chinese archaeologists unearth more terracotta warriors - May 19, 2010
- Chinese terra cotta army was robbed, burned - Jun 10, 2012
- Chinese terracotta soldiers on an overseas visit - Aug 18, 2010
- Analysis of Chinese terracotta stallions points to horse castration 2000 years ago - Mar 03, 2010
- More terracotta warriors unearthed in China - Jun 11, 2012
- Chinese terracotta army is of servants, not warriors, claims expert - Apr 14, 2009
- New discovery revives ancient China's 'blood-sweating' horse legend - Feb 24, 2011
- 2,000 years old Xi'an tomb unearthed to study Western Han Dynasty - Apr 09, 2011
- Chinese archaeologists discover 2,400-year-old soup pot - Dec 14, 2010
- Ancient site in Pakistan found, lost and found again - Aug 25, 2011
- Tomb of ancient China's "major general" unearthed in China - Feb 01, 2010
- Rare 1,100-year-old murals on display in China - Jun 21, 2011
- China's earliest wine unearthed in tomb - Jul 06, 2012
Tags: afterlife, archaeologist, archaeologists, archeological finds, army officers, capital of shaanxi province, charioteers, clay figures, colored clay, excavation, excavations, headway, infantrymen, luster, mausoleum, oxidized, preservation technology, terra cotta warriors, terracotta army, terracotta warriors