Terra Cotta Warriors in Xi’an – Underground Army Discovered by Chance
By: GlobusXi’an – one of the most important cultural cities in China – was once the capital of the Chinese Empires for more than 1,500 years. However, when the center of China moved to the east, Xi’an quickly moved out of the spotlight and was soon known as a secondary city. It wasn’t until the 1970s that the discovery of the Terra-Cotta Warriors there put Xi’an back on the map.
The Terra-Cotta Warriors were actually a cultural landmark left by Emperor Qin Shihuang – the first Chinese emperor. Unlike the Great Wall, which Qin Shihung built to defend his territory while he was alive, the Terra-Cotta Warriors were buried on the side of the mausoleum to protect the emperor’s body and soul after his death – so that he would eventually come back to life some day. Although, the Terra-Cotta Warriors were such a large and distinguishable force that played a significant role in defending the emperor, surprisingly, they were totally untraceable in many of the history records and books. Therefore, the underground army went virtually unknown until they were accidentally found in 1974. More than 2,000 years had passed since the death of Emperor Qin Shihuang, and the burial site had become a piece of well-cultivated farm land. In the summer of that year, a few local farmers were digging a well for irrigation when they found the broken pieces of bones from the warriors’ arms and legs and heads. Terrified, they believed the “remains” were possessed by the ghosts. The farmers had no idea they had stumbled upon the most important archeological discovery in Chinese history.
The discovery of this underground army reconfirmed the location of the emperor’s mausoleum and thus, ended centuries of academic debate. The farmers’ lives were also altered forever after they discovered the warriors – they were revered as heroes and rewarded by the local government. The farmers were also given jobs in the archeological museum that now stands at the burial site – ending their strenuous careers working the farmland. The enormity of the Terra-Cotta warriors and Emperor Qin Shihuang’s burial site is a wonder best seen in person. Just imagine what stories you could uncover with Globus and Goodrich Travel.