China starts new terra cotta army dig

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China launched a second excavation project on Thursday on a burial pit in the ancient capital of Xi'an, where an army of terra cotta warriors guards the mausoleum of China's first emperor.

Archaeologists plan to excavate about 200 square meters of Pit No.2, located near the tomb of Emperor Qinshihuang, founder of the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC), according to Emperor Qinshihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum.

Archaeologist Yuan Zhongyi estimated that the burial pit has 1,400 clay figures and horses and 89 chariots waiting to be unearthed.

Yuan described Pit No.2 as "the essence of the terra cotta warriors," for its mix of terra cotta chariots, cavalry and archers.

"You can find all the kneeling archers, soldiers and cavalry in the No.2 pit," Yuan said. "Their colorful paint is also relatively well preserved."

The No.2 pit was famed for the unearthing of several colorful warriors, including a rare specimen with a green face, indicating that the army was once painted various colors that faded throughout the ages.

Located in Xi'an in northwest China's Shaanxi Province, the 56-square-km Mausoleum of Qinshihuang is the world's largest underground mausoleum. An army of more than 7,000 life-sized terra cotta warriors and horses was discovered at the site in 1974.

First excavation began on Pit No.2 in 1994 and was halted in 2008 due to a lack of personnel and advanced protective technologies.

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