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Emperor Quin Shi Huang's deadly tomb stumps archaeologists

The recently discovered burial complex of China's first emperor - Qin Shi Huang - is proving to be the most exciting, and most challenging, archaeological discovery since Tutankamun. But authorities are hesitating.

Emperor Quin Shi Huang's deadly tomb stumps archaeologists
Somewhere under the mound in the foreground rests the body of China's first emperor, Qin Shi Huang. An impressive burial site that is yet to be uncovered until technology can be found to unearth it without damaging the site [Credit: KFTred Photography]
According to surviving ancient records, the massive 2200 year-old tomb is filled with treasures. Those same records describe an extensive, fearful security system.

Archaeologists working on the site told Spanish newspaper El Palais: "It's like having a present all wrapped at home, knowing that inside is what you always wanted, and not being able to open it".

Legend has it the three-storey high tomb is filled with weapons ranging from loaded crossbows to pools of poisonous mercury. And it's on an enormous scale.

The 56sq km buried complex is guarded by armies of soldiers. More than 6000 of the statues have been discovered so far.

Emperor Quin Shi Huang's deadly tomb stumps archaeologists
Quin Shi Huang's funerary palace [Credit:]
The palace compound itself is 690m long and 250m wide, with the main central building believed to be where the emperor and his servants were entombed.

The 76m high mound was engineered to last. An ancient drainage system keeps the soil dry and therefore preserves Huang's funerary offerings.

Expert on the Quin Shi Huang burial site Guo Zhikun insists it is possible the traps are real, and are still active.

Emperor Quin Shi Huang's deadly tomb stumps archaeologists
Chinese archaeologists in the work of restoration of the famous terracotta warriors, in 2007.[Credit: EFE]
He argues chrome was used throughout the complex to protect objects from deterioration. It may also have been used to protect concealed crossbows.

"The craftsmen who built the crossbows built traps so that if a looter came, they were fired immediately," he said.

Site samples prove that there are high levels of mercury in the soil. The scrolls describe deadly "rivers of quicksilver" intended to poison any intruders.

The Chinese government is yet to decide if it will allow excavation of the funerary palace.

Source: News Com [January 10, 2013]

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1 comment :

  1. "The 56sq km buried complex is guarded by armies of soldiers."

    No, it is guarded by terra cotta figures. Terra cotta figures who were intended, by Qin Shi Huang, to represent the end of war. The full story is here:


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