Terracotta Army: secrets from the grave

As Liverpool’s World Museum opens a new exhibition starring the Terracotta Warriors, Edward Burman answers essential questions about the long-buried clay army

Chinese terracotta soldiers

How was the army discovered?

In the throes of a drought in March 1974, brothers who farmed a smallholding in the village of Lintong, a day’s ride east of Xi’an in central China, decided to dig a new well. A metre down they reached a solid layer, which they assumed to be an old brick kiln. Then, to their surprise, fragments of pottery began to emerge and, quite suddenly, a life-sized terracotta head, which terrified them.

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