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Emperor Qin’S Terracota Warriors

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The young emperor, Ying Zheng, took the throne in 246 B.C. at the age of 13, and by 221 B.C., he had unified a collection of warring kingdoms and took the name of Qin Shi Huang Di—the First Emperor of Qin. During his rule, Qin standardized coins, weights, and measures; interlinked the states with canals and roads; and is credited for building the first version of the Great Wall. Top of Form

It was in 1974, that the workers digging a well outside the city of Xi’an, China, made one of the greatest archaeological discoveries in the world, a life-size clay soldier poised for battle. The government archaeologists dispatched to the site, found not one, but thousands of clay soldiers, each with unique facial expressions and positioned according to rank. And though the entire army appears gray today, patches of paint hint at once brightly colored clothes. In further excavations, thousands of bronze weapons held by the warriors such as spears, lances and swords were recovered. Although the wooden components of the weapons were decayed, the preservation of the bronze parts is still good, with many of the weapons displaying shiny, almost pristine surfaces and sharp blades.

The detection of chromium traces on the surface of bronze weapons led to the belief that the craftsmen of the Qin Dynasty (221 B.C.-207 B.C.) mastered an advanced anti-rust technology that has prevented bronze from decaying even after being buried for more than two millennia.

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