Mausoleum of Qin Shihuang
The Mausoleum of Qin Shihuang (259-210BC) has yet to reveal all its mysteries. The First Emperor began to build this tomb in 246BC and construction went on for 37 years. Much of what we do know about the tomb has been learned from historical records.
The tomb is 76 meters (249 ft) high and has a circumference of 2,000 meters. It is mostly concealed under a grass covered hill. Surveys show the mausoleum is composed of inner and outer cities. It is also thought to contain a map of the then known world and treasures for the emperor to enjoy in the afterlife.
Archaeologists are reluctant to start excavating until they are sure they have techniques that will allow them to preserve all finds and structures. According to legend, poisoned arrows and traps were set to prevent plundering of the grave. Those unfortunate craftsmen who knew the secrets of the structure were interred, alive, along with the emperor’s surviving wives after Qin Shihuang’s death.
The First Emperor famously commissioned an army to join him in the afterlife and his 6,000 or so terracotta warriors are stationed about 1.5km from the mausoleum of Qin Shihuang. In 1987 UNESCO listed the area as a World Heritage Site.