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Archaeologists Seek New Clues to the Riddle of Emperor Qin's Terra-Cotta Army

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Science  03 Jul 2009:
Vol. 325, Issue 5936, pp. 22-23
DOI: 10.1126/science.325_22a

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In life, he subdued China's warring states and became the country's first emperor. In death, he brought an army to heaven to perpetuate his rule. Since the stunning discovery of Emperor Qin Shihuang's tombs 35 years ago, archaeologists have unearthed about 1300 life-size terra-cotta soldiers and horses and a wealth of other artifacts that illuminate the brief but world-changing Qin Dynasty 2200 years ago. Last month at the renowned site, archaeologists began the latest round of excavation in a pit untouched for 2 decades. They hope to penetrate lingering puzzles about the Qin Dynasty, and they will test a new method of preserving the terra-cotta warriors' exquisitely perishable hues.