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New Terracotta Warrior Statues Discovered in China
June 15, 2012

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Archaeologists have discovered 121 new warrior statues buried near Xi'an, China. The statues are part of the famous Terracotta Army, a large grouping of more than 7,000 life-size sculptures built in 210 B.C. to guard the tomb of Qin Shi-huang-di, the first emperor.

The archaeologists will soon carefully excavate the new statues, which are part of a 20-square-mile tomb that resembles an underground city, with models of palaces and towers, all guarded by armed warriors, some with crossbows that were designed to fire on unsuspecting "visitors." Many of the statues are grouped in battle formation, and some are accompanied by terracotta horses and chariots.

The brightly painted warriors, each of which has a slightly different look because it was painted individually from the rest, have been a target of fascination since their discovery in 1974 by farmers digging a well. Archaeologists have been deliberate in excavating the site, in order to preserve the integrity of the terracotta figures.

The announcement of the new warrior find was the second major archaeological announcement out of China recently. A survey published by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage last week revealed that the Great Wall is more than twice as long as originally thought. Government officials revised the official distance from 5,500 miles long to 13,170 miles long, by adding in certain sections that had been built in all dynasties throughout Chinese history. It was long thought that Shi-huang-di, who founded the Qin Dynasty in the 3rd Century B.C., had begun the construction of the Wall. Recently uncovered evidence, however, has convinced archaeologists that Wall construction began a few hundred years before the first emperor's reign.

During the subsequent centuries, much of the early fortifications that made up the Wall have deteriorated or disappeared. The majority of the existing Wall was built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

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