In 1974, peasants digging a well in the northern Chinese city of Xi'an were disappointed in their search for water. Instead, they uncovered the major archaeological discovery of the 20th century: An underground vault that for over two millennia had been home to more than 8000 beautifully crafted, life-size terracotta soldiers. Xi'an, a dusty industrial city in the province of Shaanxi, suddenly had one of the world's premier tourist attractions.
Ancient, Museums - History
For 2200 years the Xi'an terracotta warriors silently guarded the tomb of Qin Shihuang, first Emperor of China, remembered chiefly for uniting China in 222 BC thanks to a judicious mix of torture, murder and cruelty. By the time he'd pulled the country together, standardised the currency and made a good start on the Great Wall of China, the Emperor had made more than a few enemies. None could touch him while he strutted the earth, but he feared the afterlife was a different story. To ensure his safety from the petulant gods of the netherworld, Shihuang had a terracotta army made and buried with him in a massive tomb to protect and follow him into immortality.