ScienceSQ

How The Terracotta Army Works

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Great things are often discovered by accident, and history can confirm this saying. You are probably familiar with famous stone made soldiers who stayed hidden for centuries underground, but did you know that an accident discovered them?

In 1974, in the northwestern Chinese village of Xiyang, a group of men organized to dig a well. What started as an ordinary day, turn out to be an important day for emperor Qin’s terracotta army.

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Men were digging for water, so at one moment, they reached 13 feet (4 meters) underground when they hit something hard. It wasn’t unusual to hit rocks even at this depth, but it wasn’t a stone, nor something familiar to them. To their surprise, they discovered a decapitated head made of terracotta pottery.

They did the only thing they could – they alert the government officials who eventually sent archaeologists to the site.
The experts knew that the farmers’ land stood near the burial ground of Qin Shi Huangdi, China’s first emperor, but even that couldn’t prepare them for this massive discovery.

Archaeologists continued exploring, and after hours and hours of digging, they realized that the emperor’s burial complex extended much farther than previously assumed.

Eventually, the team discovered thousands of terracotta soldiers. Originally, the purpose of these soldiers was to guard the king’s tomb. In total, 7,000 life-size terracotta fugues represented archers, generals, infantrymen, and even flanking. All in all, these figures were hidden for more than 2,200 years.

 

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