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Digging for clues in ancient Qin

(Global Times)

14:27, June 25, 2012

Unearthed terracotta warriors Photo: Courtesy of Museum of the Terracotta Warriors and Horses of Qin Shihuang

After three years of archeological work on Pit 1 of the Terracotta Army in Xi'an, the capital city of Shaanxi Province, the results debuted to the public in early June. Experts unearthed over 310 pieces of historical relics, including a large number of new terracotta warriors, 12 pottery horses, two chariots, weapons and tools, and decayed building materials.

"All the warriors unearthed in the latest excavation were very realistic, with astonishing lifelike black pupils, complete with the whites of the eyes," Shen Maosheng, head of the archaeological team for the third excavation of Pit 1, told the Global Times.

All the terracotta warriors were initially covered with colorful drawings. However, the low quality of colored tools used in the Qin Dynasty (221BC - 206BC) combined with later man-made damages resulted in most of the colors eroding after exposure to the air, during the excavation.

Gems found

A painted shield measuring 50 centimeters wide and 70 centimeters tall was discovered on the surface of a chariot relic. This is the first of its kind unearthed among the pits of terracotta figures.

According to Yuan Zhongyi, an expert on the excavation of terracotta figures, the shield probably equipped for soldiers for fighting in the chariot.

"The shield proved that the soldiers in the Qin Dynasty took good care of themselves in war, overturning previous assertions that ancient soldiers were brave enough to fight unprotected. In fact, they were equipped with suits of armor," Shen said.

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