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3D imaging to solve Terracotta Army mystery


Posted on Tuesday, 24 June, 2014 | Comment icon 16 comments

Several of the remarkable terracotta soldiers. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Schubbay
A new 3D imaging technique could finally determine whether the warriors were based on real soldiers.
Discovered in 1974 by farmers in China's Shaanxi province, the army of 8,000 immaculately crafted ancient warriors is considered to be one of the most important archaeological finds in history.

Each of the warriors was thought to have been placed in the tomb of Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, to protect him in the afterlife after his death in 210 BC. Among them are 130 chariots, 520 horses and 150 cavalry.

One of the most enduring mysteries about the terracotta army is whether the soldiers were all created from a single template or whether each one had been based on an individual soldier. Scientists are hoping to finally answer this question thanks to a new 3D imaging technique that is enabling them to analyze and compare the figures in unprecedented detail.

While the results are not yet conclusive, all the evidence so far points to the likelihood that each of the terracotta warriors was indeed modeled on a unique individual from Qin Shi Huang's army. If this turns out to be the case then the implications in terms of the additional time and effort that must have gone in to creating the spectacle are truly staggering.

Source: News.com.au | Comments (16)

Tags: Terracotta Army, China

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #7 Posted by paperdyer on 25 June, 2014, 2:09
And my second thought was "How do I get a job like that?" First you need to be called a Doctor of something or at least the "expert" in a field and then find someone that has more money than they know what to do with.
Comment icon #8 Posted by ancient astronaut on 25 June, 2014, 3:54
Regardless of who they are based on, they are awesome to look at. Such an incredible amount of skill and patience to make these. Incredible.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Hobbit Feet on 25 June, 2014, 13:32
It's fascinating so many ancient cultures from all over the world believed in an afterlife that you could take something with you. Monotheism is so boring.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Leonardo on 25 June, 2014, 14:50
Was thinking the same thing bubblykiss and damn you for making me type bubblykiss! Assuming you are male, you can hand in your Man-card at any Police Station or Post Office branch.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Poltergeistnz on 27 June, 2014, 9:16
Assuming you are male, you can hand in your Man-card at any Police Station or Post Office branch. Sorry, you'll have to get it off my ex!
Comment icon #12 Posted by g00dfella on 28 June, 2014, 22:08
nce
Comment icon #13 Posted by Lilly on 29 June, 2014, 1:41
nce *crash* There goes an "i".
Comment icon #14 Posted by qxcontinuum on 30 June, 2014, 5:32
What if they are statues made from the alikeness of the fallen ones as commemorative process. It it was an important war they were simply heroes whose figures should have remained in time.
Comment icon #15 Posted by Still Waters on 21 November, 2014, 21:10
Update - Statistical analysis revealed that no two ears in the small sample group were exactly the same. Indeed, the degree of variability resembled a human population. This preliminary finding lends credence to the idea that the ancient artists were aiming for realism."Based on this initial sample, the terra-cotta army looks like a series of portraits of real warriors," says UCL archaeologist Marcos Martinon-Torres. http://news.national...na-archaeology/
Comment icon #16 Posted by lightly on 25 November, 2014, 12:54
I've always wondered if every one of those figures was an accurate representation of a soldier that was sacrificed at the time of the Emperors death to accompany and protect him in the afterlife.


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