Chinese archaeologists receive Spanish award for terracotta army study

13:27, October 23, 2010      

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A team of Chinese archaeologists dedicated to the excavation and study of the world famous terracotta warriors in northwest China's Xi'an City on Friday received the Prince of Asturias Award for Social Sciences in Spain.

"The work of the archaeologists at Xi'an is a delicacy of extreme perfection with an emotional result, which gives us precious historical and cultural information about the China of over 2,000 years ago at a key time for human civilization," Spanish Prince Felipe de Borbon said at the awarding ceremony before an audience of nearly 1,500 at the Teatro Campoamor in Oviedo.

"The Award ... to China reflects the country's cultural heritage and also its present-day geopolitical role, which is expressed in an ever increasing openness and influence in the world and its current spectacular economic development," the prince added.

The Chinese archaeologists, headed by team director Xu Weihong and deputy curator of the Xi'an Terracotta Warriors Museum Zhang Weixing, received the award amid applause from the audience, among whom were Queen Sofia, the Princess of Asturias, as well as former EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana.

According to the Awards' jury, the archaeologists were given this honor "for developing a multidisciplinary investigation that permits the study of a period from over 2,000 years ago."

"They have made it possible for millions of people to get closer to a key moment in the history of civilizations and have opened the door for multiple fields of knowledge," said the jury.

Xu and her team are excavating and studying the terracotta army of more than 7,000 life-sized figures of warriors and horses, which forms part of the mausoleum of Emperor Qinshihuang, who ruled China around 220 B.C..

The underground army was discovered in 1974. Investigations began soon afterwards and the tomb complex was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1987. It is now considered one of the most important archaeological discoveries in the 20th century.

"The Mausoleum with its thousands of warriors, objects and other terracotta figures is a metaphor for eternity. Since 1979 millions of people have been able to relive the personal, ancient and mysterious history of an emperor who created a refuge for his voyage to eternity," said the Spanish prince.

The Prince of Asturias Awards, established in September 1980, are a series of annual prizes awarded in Spain by the Prince of Asturias foundation to individuals, entities or organizations from around the world who make notable achievements in sciences, humanities and public affairs.

Source: Xinhua


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