'Animal world' unearthed at Terracotta Warriors site
Stone helmets, armor and the remains of thousands of animals and relics related to animals are among the latest archaeological finds at Emperor Qinshihuang's mausoleum in Shaanxi province, according to CCTV.com.
The items were found in excavations at the celebrated site, which is home to China's iconic Terracotta Warriors.
More than 400 pits, stone helmets and armor discovered
Zhou Tie, the head engineer of the Emperor Qinshihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum, said that during a recent excavation, the archaeological team learned the general structure of the mausoleum and a large number of pits were discovered. More than 400 pits were found in the mausoleum and dozens of small pits and tombs were found around the site.
A large number of stone helmets and armor were found surrounding the mausoleum.. Experts believe these were not used in actual war, but their real function still needs to be researched.
Emperor Qinshihuang's mausoleum (File Photo via chinadaily.com.cn)
Ancient people of the time used animals as burial objects and the emperor's mausoleum was no exception.
The new archaeological findings reveal that thousands of animal-related relics have been found in the mausoleum; that makes it the tomb in China with the most animal species so far.
"Different animal species were unearthed in Emperor Qinshihuang's mausoleum, including real animals and those made of pottery or iron," Wu Lina, from Emperor Qinshihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum said. During the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) people gradually grasped animals' habits and learned the skills necessary to raise and train them to some extent.
Terracotta warriors and horses in the Emperor Qinshihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum (File Photo via chinadaily.com.cn)
According to preliminary statistics, the most unearthed animal in the mausoleum is horse. Horses come in many forms: pottery, copper, horse bones unearthed from stable pits. Other animals unearthed include rare birds and beasts and water fowl. Yet to be identified are animal bones.
Wu Lina said that after years of excavation, the animals unearthed from the mausoleum include deer, muntjac deer, figures of copper fowl, such as cranes, swans and swan goose, plus the bones of sheep, chicken, fish and turtles, as well as shellfish ornaments.
Animal and human beings have existed side by side since ancient times, and the concept of biodiversity should be advocated even vigorously nowadays, Hou Ningbin, the museum's head, said.