08:32 GMT25 February 2021
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    The world-famous Terracotta Army is a collection of sculptures depicting soldiers of Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China. According to myths, the army protects the emperor in the afterlife. The sculptures date back to approximately the third century BC.

    Thousands of archaeological items have been discovered at two construction sites in the Chinese city of Xian, local media reported. Works on building the city’s new metro lines always end up with exciting new discoveries and this year was not an exception. Archaeologists had to skip their holidays and work overtime when construction workers discovered ancient artefacts.

    According to the cultural heritage bureau of Shaanxi, the findings were made at a 76-hectare site to be used for an airport extension and a 50-mile subway line.

    More than 4,600 items of archaeological significance have been identified by workers, including 3,500 tombs, the bureau said in a statement on Chinese social media Weibo.

    "The number and scale of the relics is huge and the workload of archaeological excavation is enormous", said the bureau.

    Over the course of its history, the city of Xian was home to 13 dynasties and remained the capital of ancient China for a total of 1,100 years. Since becoming a transportation hub and experiencing an infrastructure boom, scientists have been making numerous archaeological discoveries.

    In 2001, scientists found the tomb of Li Chi, a princess from the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907 AD). A year later, researchers unearthed the tomb of Zhang Tang, a top judicial official of the Han dynasty (206 BC - 220 AD).

    "In Xian, before any construction project starts, or before the government sells a certain parcel of land, an archaeological survey is carried out. This is rare in China", said Wang Zili, deputy director of the Xian Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage.

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    Tags:
    ancient tombs, archaeology, Terracotta Army, China
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