Archaeologists in China’s northern Xi’an city have excavated another 100 terracotta warriors, including a much-prized army officer, near the tomb of the nation’s first emperor, state media said.
A new excavation at the famed site began over a month ago in a bid to unravel the mysteries surrounding the ancient terracotta army near Xi’an, capital of Shaanxi province.
“Our most exciting discovery so far is the army officer,” Xinhua news agency quoted chief archaeologist Xu Weihong as saying.
So far, the majority of discovered figures are archers, infantrymen and charioteers that the Qin Emperor, who had the site built, hoped would follow him into the afterlife.
Less than 10 armoured generals have been unearthed with the army, part of a burial site for Qin Shi Huang, who presided over the unification of China in 221 BC and is seen as the first emperor of the nation.
Xu said the army officer was found lying on its stomach behind four chariots, and was largely intact compared with other newly-discovered warriors, according to Xinhua.
“The original colours have faded after more than 2000 years of decay, but a corner of the officer’s robe suggested it was in colours other than the grey-ish clay,” he said.
The latest excavation is the third in the site’s largest pit — one of three open to the public — since 1974 when the army of terracotta warriors and horses was discovered by a peasant digging a well.
Up to 5000 more life-size figures are believed to still be buried in the pit and awaiting excavation.
The Terracotta Army is one of the greatest archaeological finds of modern times, and was listed as a World Heritage Site in 1987.