More than 100 new terracotta warriors unearthed in China
One of China's most fascinating historical and cultural discoveries - Emperor Qinshihuang's terracotta army - can now claim an extra one hundred soldiers among its number after a wealth of newly discovered relics were unearthed by archaeologists.
Working at a site dubbed the No 1 Pit at the famous mausoleum in Xi'an, archaeologists have discovered 310 different statues and items in total, reports Chinese newspaper the Shanghai Daily.
As well as the 102 soldiers, they have found a number of war horses, two sets of chariots, weaponry, drums and a shield.
The shield is of particular interest as it is the first of its kind to have been discovered at the mausoleum and provides evidence of the size of shields used by soldiers during the Qin Dynasty (221 BC to 206 BC).
However, the newly discovered items also showed signs of having fallen victim to looting and arson over the centuries.
"We have found large quantities of red clay and charcoal along with holes for robbing in the major pit of terra cotta warriors," said Shen Maosheng, leader of the archaeological team."These are evidence of arson and looting."
The team found a number of pieces of the figures in their original blue color, while others were a red colour, caused by burning.
This suggests the figures were first broken into pieces and then some parts set on fire, said Shen.
He believes that rebel leader Xiang, who ruled in the third millennium BC, was the most likely candidate to have been responsible for the damage.
"Xiang was the person with the power, time and motive to destroy the terra cotta warriors," he said.
An overland adventure through China including a stop off in Xi'an provides an excellent opportunity to see the terracotta warriors with your own eyes.
So far, some 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses have been found at the site, but experts believe the majority of the army still remains buried.