Human remains found in Mausoleum of First Emperor of China
Archaeologists have said that a five-year excavation of small burial pits inside the Mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang, China’s First Emperor (259-210 BC), have proven historical records that say imperial concubines were immolated and buried in sacrificial burial pits.
The latest digging season in a five-year project has just concluded and archaeologists announced that a number of burial pits inside the imperial mausoleum contained the remains of young females, which are presumed to be the Emperor’s concubines. So far, only 10 of the 99 small burial pits have been excavated and it is expected the other pits will produce similar results.
According to Zhang Weixing, deputy director of the archaeology department of the Emperor Qin Shi Huang's Mausoleum Site Museum, the fact that some of the skeletons were incomplete suggests that the young women were killed elsewhere and then buried in the pits rather than in formal coffin chambers.
The First Emperor of China is famous for the army of terracotta warriors that stand guarding his tomb, ready to protect him in the afterlife. His Mausoleum is said to be a copy of his kingdom —which according to the records took 37 years and more than 720,000 people to construct—so that he could maintain his empire after death.
According to historical records, the mausoleum was a notorious crime scene. Many labourers died of hardship during its construction, and all the workmen were entombed along with the emperor in order to silence them. But it wasn’t only the workmen who were killed – ancient texts suggest that all the barren roynnnnal concubines accompanied Emperor Qin Shi Huang on his last journey. The Second Emperor said: "It would be inappropriate for the concubines of the late emperor who have no sons to be out free". Presumably he believed they would service him in death as they had serviced him in life
Featured Image: The imagined picture of the tomb of Chinese emperor Qinshihuang