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China Finds Secret Tomb Chamber

Edited from BBC News, 1 July 2007

In 2007 it was reported by Chinese archaeologists that a mysterious underground chamber had been found inside the Chinese imperial tomb which was guarded by the famous Terracotta Army.

Historical records describing the tomb of Qin Shihuang, the first emperor of China's Qin dynasty, fail to mention the room which is thirty metres (98 feet) deep. The unopened chamber was found at the site near the old imperial capital of Xian using remote sensing technology. One expert opined that it may have been built for the soul of the emperor.

More than two thousand years old, the chamber was buried inside a pyramidal earth mound 51m (170 feet) high on top of Qin's tomb. It was situated near the life-size terracotta warriors and had four stair-like walls, according to Duan Qingbo, a researcher with the Shaanxi Archaeological Research Institute.

At the time of writing the Chinese authorities had not given permission to excavate the site. It was believed that they wished to perfect archaeological techniques before probing any further, and archaeologists had had to use sensing technology at the site from 2002.

Despite his brutal methods, Emperor Qin is remembered as a hero in China for forging a unified state. He also provided the country with the name by which it is known outside of China itself - 'Qin' is pronounced 'chin'.

Qin terracotta army
According to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, archaeologists suspected that the unexcavated tomb could contain an entire replica of the city of Xi'an, which the warriors guard



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