Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Can you imagine digging in your yard one day, and discovering pieces of pottery that were from a life - sized terracotta soldier (one of thousands in a pit), made completely out of clay over 2,000 years ago berried in your back yard? That's exactly what happened in China in 1974! A farmer digging a well outside Xi'an City located in central China hit something hard, and found one of the most amazing discoveries of all time. There were actually several farmers that were present, and all but one dismissed the discovery. One of the farmers called the authorities and reported the find. Because Xi'an was the capitol city of China for 13 dynasties, the Government decided to expand the exploration for buried treasures.

By the time Archaeologists had finished digging, they had uncovered over 7,000 life - sized terracotta soldiers! Some of the statues they found are kneeling with terra cotta bows, ready to shoot. Some have moustaches. Some have armor. Archaeologists also found terracotta horses, spears, and chariots - all life sized, all made out of clay. Each is unique and no two look alike.

As a "reward to the farmer that stumbled on this incredible discovery, the Chinese government gave him a job at the entrance of the Terracotta Warrior exhibit. John was actually able to meet the farmer, and he signed one of the books about the Terra cotta warriors for him. In the photo's below, look along the side of the pit where the Terracotta warriors are exhibited and note how massive this really is compared to the size of the people walking around the perimeter.

So who did all of this and why over 200 years before the birth of Christ?

Oin (Ch'in) ShiHuang, as the first Emperor of China, claimed a mandate from heaven and took with him a terracotta army of nearly 8.000 soldiers when he died. This archaeological treasure is one of the most magnificent sites of antiquity. The army lies in three separate pits, in battle formation, nearly one kilometer east of Qin ShiHuang's mausoleum- tomb known as Mount Li. He believed they would guard him in death as they did in real life.

The Emperor Qin ShiHuang was only 13 years old when he ordered the construction process. All construction workers involved in building the terracotta warriors were either buried alive with Qin (Chin) ShiHuang or killed to maintain strict secrecy.

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