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Iranians Helped Chinese to Construct Their Terracotta Army


29 June 2006




Chinese Terrecota Army.jpg (82617 bytes)LONDON, (CAIS) -- Chinese archaeologists have unearthed evidence that a foreign worker helped build the Terracotta Army mausoleum, the resting place of the country's first emperor, who died more than 2,200 years ago.


The remains of the worker, described as a foreign man in his 20s, were found among 121 shattered skeletons in a labourers' tomb 500 metres from the mausoleum in the north-western city of Xian, the state-run Xinhua news agency said.


According to Xinhua, the man may prove to be "China's first foreign worker", though it is unclear whether he served as an employee or a slave of emperor Qin Shi Huang, who unified China and built the first Great Wall. It is estimated 700,000 labourers worked on the imperial tomb, which houses 8,000 life-sized terracotta warriors and horses. DNA tests were used to ethnically identify 15 of the labourers [all of the Iranian stock].


"One sample has typical DNA features commonly owned by the Parsi [Zoroastrians] in India and Pakistan, the Kurds in Turkmenistan and the Persians in Iran," Tan Jingze, an anthropologist with Fudan University, told Xinhua. "It's an inspiring discovery, but we're not sure if there are more foreigners involved in the construction of the mausoleum," she said.


Archaeologists on the excavation said the find meant that contacts between the people in east Asia [Iranian stock] and those in what is now central Asia actually began a century earlier than believed. Earlier studies had suggested the first contact occurred later in the Han dynasty (206 BCE-220 CE).


It is possible more foreigners may be found among the 200 other labourers' tombs in the area, but Chinese scientists have suspended excavations and DNA sample collections to help prevent environmental degradation





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News Source: Guardian Unlimited



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