In 1974, peasants digging a well near the city of Xian, in Shaanxi province, China, stumbled upon a cache of life-size, terracotta figures of soldiers at what was later determined to be the burial complex of the first emperor of the Qin Dynasty, Qin Shi Huang (259 B.C.-210 B.C.).
The emperor, who ruled China from 221 B.C. to 207 B.C., was credited with a series of public works projects, including an early iteration of the Great Wall, a standardized written language, a system of laws and a system of weights.
An estimated 700,000 laborers worked to construct his burial complex at Xian as well as the approximately 8,000 army figures buried there to guard the emperor in the afterlife.
Since the initial discovery of the tombs, archeologists have continued to unearth additional artifacts nearby that provide information about ancient China. The site has also become a popular tourist attraction.
PIC: History.com, UNESCO World Heritage Centre, National Geographic, China Highlights