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More terracotta army secrets to be revealed

ARCHEOLOGISTS will resume excavating the famous terracotta army site near the mausoleum of China's first emperor Qinshihuang, today's Wenhui Daily reported.
China Central Television station will air Saturday's excavation at the No. 1 pit of the site in Xi'an, the capital of southwest China's Shaanxi Province.

Archeologists hope the new excavation - work on the site has been suspended for two decades - covering 200 square meters to in the center of the pit, will answer many questions about the terracotta army. They want to know if there were generals in the army or officials among the clay warriors.

The 2,200-year-old mausoleum was discovered in Lintong County, 35 kilometers east of Xi'an, in 1974 by farmers who were digging a well. The terracotta army buried around the mausoleum is one of the greatest archaeological finds of modern times.

No two soldiers in the army are alike. Each of the sand-colored statues has a different facial expression and hairstyle, and craftsmen are believed to have modeled them after a real army.

More than 1,000 life-size figures have been found in three pits, representing the emperor's army with officers, horses, archers and chariots.

Emperor Qinshihuang ruled China from 221 to 206 BC.

In 1979, The Museum of the Terracotta Army was opened. It has been listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The No. 1 pit, measuring 14,260 square meters, is the largest of the three pits excavated. It contains a major section of the terracotta army with about 6,000 clay warriors.

The first excavation to the pit was carried out from 1978 to 1984, over 2,000 square meters and it unearthed 1,087 clay warriors.

The second excavation started in 1985 for another 2,000 square meters. But the work had to be suspended after a year because of inadequate technology and equipment.

Archeologists with the terracotta army museum decided to carry out the third excavation after the museum was licensed early this year by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage to undertake the excavations, according to the museum's researcher Xu Weihong.

The researchers are skilled in relic protection as they have had a good deal of experience in the past few years, Xu said.


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