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Remains of crossbow found at terracotta warriors site

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The terracotta warriors site in Xi'an has long been a hot tourist destination, and a continued base for archaeological studies. Researchers there recently showcased their latest discovery - the remains of a crossbow. It is by far the finest remnant of a weapon found belonging to the military forces of the Qin Dynasty.

Judging from the remains, the crossbow is about 80 centimetres long, a regular size for adult soldiers. The whipcord can be seen clearly; archaeologists believe that it was made from the hamstring tendons of cows or horses.

"There's the nut, the trigger, and the slot that carries the arrows... The whipcord is almost complete, this is the best condition we have ever seen in excavations here. There have been studies on firing range of different models of crossbows. But still we have to run a simulation test on computers to estimate the firing range of this piece. And with that, we'll see if it helps us to come to a better understanding of the firepower of the Qin Dynasty army," said Shen Maosheng, deputy director of Qinshihuang's mausoleum site park.

Previously there have been 8 sets of crossbow remains unearthed. Judging from the position in pit and the terracotta warriors that carries them, researchers believe these crossbows were used by the military men for guarding, rather than attacking.

The excavation work in Pit 1 started in 2009.

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