Chinese experts are studying the proposals to excavate the tombs of Emperor Qin Shihuang and Empress Wu Zetian, said Zhang Bai, vice director of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage (SACH) here Tuesday at a press conference.
"The tombs of Emperor Qin Shihuang and Empress Wu Zetian are preserved well and no illegal excavation and transport has been found so far," said Zhang, "We decided not to dig them right now because the technology is not mature enough," Zhang said.
Emperor Qin Shihuang, who unified ancient China in 221 B.C. and established the Great Wall, died in 210 B.C. and the imperial system he built set a pattern that was developed over the next two millennia in China.
Empress Wu Zetian assumed power from 684 to 690. Though her reign was brief, she was the only female Emperor in Chinese history.
Having never been unearthed, the two tombs hold many mysteries.
"They rank at the world's leading position in terms of scale and construction delicacy," said Sun Qingyun, the Mayor of Xi'an City in northwest China's Shannxi Province, where the two tombs are located.
"Their excavation requires thorough preparation, which includes a responsible attitude toward history and cultural heritage," Sun said.
"China's cultural property protection technology is still lagging behind, and we cannot ensure the safety of these relics if we dig them out," Zhang said, citing the example of ivory discovered in southern China that turned from pure white to black within two hours after being unearthed.