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The figures, dating from approximately the late third century BCE, were discovered in 1974 by local farmers in Lintong District, Xi'an, Shaanxi province.The figures vary in height according to their roles, with the tallest being the generals. Estimates from 2007 were that the three pits containing the Terracotta Army held more than 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses, the majority of which remained buried in the pits nearby Qin Shi Huang's mausoleum.It wasn't until archaeologists arrived months later it was realized that the farmers had stumbled upon an astonishing find in the form of large-scale terracotta warriors buried in the ground in which they had been digging.

A fourth pit remained empty, suggesting that the burial pit was left unfinished at the time the emperor died.Guarded by an army of more than 6,000 life-size terra cotta soldiers, the emperor’s tomb would remain hidden for more than 2,200 years after his death.Explore some surprising facts about the Terra Cotta Army.Qin Shi Huang, founder of the Qin dynasty, ruled a unified China as its first emperor from 221-207 B. Among the many massive building projects he ordered during his reign was the earliest version of China’s Great Wall, which ran along the country’s northern border and was designed to protect against barbarian invasions.But Emperor Qin’s most memorable project was the massive mausoleum complex he had constructed for himself near the ancient city of Xi’an.Geographer Li Daoyuan, writing six centuries after the First Emperor's death, recorded in Shui Jing Zhu that Mount Li was a favoured location due to its auspicious geology, "famed for its jade mines, its northern side was rich in gold, and its southern side rich in beautiful jade; the First Emperor, covetous of its fine reputation, therefore chose to be buried there".

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