Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Digging Up an Army: Our Trip to the Terra Cotta Warriors

In 1974, four farmers surnamed Yang were in need of water.  So, they went out into their field and dug a well.  While digging, one of the farmers came upon a chard of ancient pottery.  He took the chard to a government official to see if the pottery had any value.  They discovered beneath his fields, was a 2000-year-old army of Terra Cotta soldiers created to protect China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huangdi, in the afterlife.
Before entering the museum, we had the privilege of meeting the farmer, Mr. Yang, who found the warriors while digging a well.  His new, easier  job is to greet people and sign books at a store outside the museum.  
Chris and I decided to visit the Terra Cotta warriors over our 4 day Labor Day holiday.  I anticipated being wowed by the statues, but did not know the monument is still an active archeological dig site.

These restored warriors stand guard in pit one. 
Archeologists believe there are about 8000 warriors in the three pits.

Each warrior was made from one of eight different molds.  Then, artisans used clay to give each warrior their own distinct features.  No two warriors are the same.

The warriors used to be multi colored, however time and the elements have turned them gray.  Scientists are creating methods to preserve the warriors' natural coloring.
Workers also have found over 500 horses and 130 chariots in the three pits. 

I was most fascinated with the soldier fragments.

Preservationists match fragments to restore the warriors.  

Every soldier is a puzzle waiting to be assembled.  I would not have the patience to complete these puzzles.

Some soldiers were not able to be fully restored because their  body parts were beyond repair.

More soldiers are waiting to be unearthed.

Can you find the face?

These lines are the original support beams that protected the warriors.

This bronze chariot was discovered close to the emperor's tomb.
Another bronze chariot was also found close to the warriors.

I am looking forward to seeing the Terra Cotta Warrior site grow, as more artifacts are uncovered.  Talk about archaeology in action!