Archaeologists have uncovered 200 more terracotta warriors in China, during excavations close to the mausoleum of the country's first emperor, Qin Shi Huang. He was responsible for the creation of the Great Wall of China, and it is believed that the warriors were buried with him after his death in 210 BC, with the aim of protecting him in the afterlife.

Clay statues of Chinese Qin dynasty soldiers
The terracotta warriors surround the mausoleum of China's first emperor, Qin Shi Huang © Nikada/Getty Images

Researchers believe it took 700,000 labourers up to 40 years to complete the army and its tombs. It was estimated in 2007 that the burial pits held more than 8000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses. The terracotta figures are life-size and the figures vary in height, according to their roles. The first batch was discovered in 1974 by local farmers digging a well in in Xi’an, the capital of China’s Shaanxi province, and they were named the Terracotta Army

The Tomb Warrior Statues of the Chinese Qin Dynasty protect their emperors.
The warriors come from five different ranks © danp68/Getty Images

The new batch was discovered by a team of archaeologists during a decade-long excavation of one of four burial pits surrounding the site. They also uncovered 12 clay horses, two chariots and a number of bronze weapons. According to the state-run Xinhua news agency, the warriors come from five different ranks and they were arranged in the pit based on their military tasks. Most of them were either clutching pole weapons or carrying bows, and one low rank was previously unknown to experts.

A section of over 8000 Terracotta Warriors in the mausoleum of the first Qin emperor outside Xian, China.
All of the figures have distinct expressions, hairstyles and physical features © Rolf_52/Getty Images

All of the figures have distinct expressions, hairstyles and physical features, and details on their armour and clothing point to their rank. Other terracotta non-military figures found in the pits include officials, acrobats, strongmen and musicians. A museum facility with viewing theatres has been erected around the excavation sites attracting millions of visitors annually.

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