The big dig

The big dig

The Chinese army is about to get bigger...

The big dig

The Chinese are looking for a new leader, but they might need to dig him up. Work is beginning on the next phase of excavation of the Terracotta Army in Xian, and the dig team is hoping to uncover the troop’s commanding officer.

So far, a small number of “armoured generals” have been unearthed but no paramount leader. A thousand-plus statues have already been excavated, state media reports, but experts believe there could be as many as eight thousand archers, infantry soldiers, horse-drawn chariots, officers and acrobats beneath the surface. Famously, no two statues are exactly alike.

The tomb, which was first discovered in 1974, has undergone various excavations in the past. Previously the clay figures have lost their red lustre on exposure to the open air. Archaeologists are now using a German technology that they hope will keep the Red Army from turning grey.

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