Archaeologists in China have unearthed the ruins of an ancient palace right near the resting place of Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of a unified China, in the city of Xi’an.
Qin Shi Huang’s tomb, believed to have begun construction around 215 BC, was already famous for its life-sized terracotta soldiers, but the latest discovery serves to make the tomb even more remarkable.
Sun Weigang, an associate researcher at the Shaanxi provincial institute of archaeology, told China’s Xinhua news agency that the palace ruins, which appear to be like a courtyard, are estimated to be as large as 690 meters long and 250 meters wide and cover an area of 170,000 cubic meters.
China Daily reports:
“The historical record showed that Emperor Qin Shihuang planned the construction of his cemetery soon after he was enthroned, and the large cemetery and mausoleum showed that he wanted to continue his imperial life after his death.
“The emperor, who was born Ying Zheng, came to the throne of the Qin at age 13 and took over the affairs of the state at age 22. By 211 BC, he annexed six rival principalities and established the first feudal empire in Chinese history.”
If accurate, the newly-uncovered palace ruins would be roughly one fourth the size of Beijing’s Forbidden City. In fact, Weigang notes that the palace ruins found in the mausoleum are a “clear” predecessor to the Forbidden City.
Regardless, Chinese archaeologists are thrilled by the discovery, which they say could shed light on the architectural techniques of the Qin dynasty.