Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Terracotta Expansion

Archaeologists are about to begin an expansion at Xi'an's terracotta army site.

From Xinhua News:

Photo from AP

XI'AN, June 9 (Xinhua) -- Chinese archaeologists will begin the third excavation of the famous terracotta army site on Saturday, hoping to find more clay figures and unravel some of the mysteries left behind by the "First Emperor".

Archaeologists hoped they might find a clay figure that appeared to be "in command" of the huge underground army, said Liu Zhancheng, head of the archeological team under the terracotta museum in Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi Province.

"We're hoping to find a clay figure that represented a high-ranking army officer, for example," he told Xinhua Tuesday.

Liu and his colleagues are also hoping to ascertain the success of decades of preservation efforts to keep the undiscovered terracotta figures intact and retain their original colors.

Richly colored clay figures were unearthed from the mausoleum of Qinshihuang, the first emperor of a united China, in previous excavations, but once they were exposed to the air they began to lose their luster and turn an oxidized grey.

The upcoming excavation into the first and largest of the three pits at the site would last at least a year, said Wu Yongqi, curator of the museum.

Read On
One of the most interesting things about the terracotta warrior site is how little of the site has actually been excavated. A significant amount of the site remains under earth, including Qin Shihuang's tomb.

Of the three pits of soldiers at the terracotta soldier museum, only one is really all that big - Pit 1. And even that one has a significant amount of unearthing going on at it. You can see what I'm talking about in the background of this picture:

Here is a closer up shot of the debris:

These pictures, one developed and one undeveloped, are from Pit 3:

This site should just get better in better with time. That is, of course, if they can survive the damage of being exposed to air and tourists.

1 comment:

Matthew said...

That would be really cool if they can preserve the original color.