The Terracotta Army: An Army Underground

Pit 1

The largest pit uncovered in the burial ground is pit 1. Pit 1 is over 210 meters wide by 60 meters long. The layout of this pit was relatively simple. The pit consisted of nine parallel inner corridors each approximately 3 meters wide, along with a narrower perimeter corridor on each side. [8] At the ends of each corridor and along the sides ramps were constructed to allow workers to enter and leave the pits. Each corridor contained four parallel lines of troops totaling over 6,000 clay figurines. One very interesting feature of this pit is that all of the soldiers, besides the last row, are all facing the same direction. Every soldier in this pit is facing east. Historians believe that Qin Shi Huang faced them this way because he believed that evil was coming from the East. [1] A counter argument however is that the Great Wall of China was constructed around this time as protection from the north, not the east. [2] By this reasoning, the terracotta army should face north and not east.

This pit contained important information on military historical data and how Qin dynasty's troops operated. In the front of the large mass of soldiers was a vanguard. These 204 soldiers were neither armed nor heavily armored. These soldiers were believed to be the best and bravest soldiers who would attack at high speeds and lead the charge in battle. [1] Similar to the vanguard there was also a rearguard in the back of the formation. The final two western most rows were the only two rows of soldiers in the entire pit that are facing west. These soldiers were believed to be heavily armed and armored as they protected the entire army from rear end attacks. In each of the outermost two corridors there were bowman each facing outward protecting each side of the army. This military formation is perfectly symmetrical regardless of which direction you look at it from. [4] This meant that every flank was guarded from enemies. This was a new and effective formation that had not been previously discovered in ancient China. Many historians believe that this could have been one of the reasons why the Qin Dynasty was able to take control of so many other territories. They had formations and strategies that had never been seen before. On the other hand some historians such as Fieber believe that this was not an actual battle formation and more of a standby formation waiting to engage in battle. [1] 


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