Archaeologists fear ‘volatile’ emperor’s tomb surrounded by stone soldiers

Archaeologists are erring on the side of caution when it comes to a Chinese emperor's tomb, which is surrounded by eerie stone soldiers.

The tomb of China's first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, has been buried and left sealed shut for 2,200 years, and those excavating the grave are scared to open it.

Not because of the ominous and infamous Terracotta Army of soldiers and horses, but because of the "highly volatile" state of the tomb itself, which was discovered in 1974.

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Opening the tomb could cause insurmountable damage to the immediate area around it, and experts believe the coffin is booby trapped with death awaiting those who open it.

Rumoured deathly traps attached to the coffin could be put in place to ward off curious individuals who fancied cracking their way into the coffin.

Writings from Sima Qian a century on from the death of China's first emperor read: "Palaces and scenic towers for a hundred officials were constructed and the tomb was filled with rare artefacts and wonderful treasure.

"Craftsmen were ordered to make crossbows and arrows primed to shoot at anyone who enters the tomb. Mercury was used to simulate the hundred rivers, the Yangtze and Yellow River, and the great sea, and set to flow mechanically."

But even a lack of booby traps and arrows could prove troubling, Indy100 reported.

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Experts are now worried the state of the coffin and the mercury inside could be a fatal mix which would cause quite the horror show when opened.

A paper published in 2020 suggested the reason as to why the tomb had never been looted, and it could be due to the "highly volatile" mercury inside.

It read: "Highly volatile mercury may be escaping through cracks, which developed in the structure over time, and our investigation supports ancient chronicle records on the tomb, which is believed never to have been opened/looted."

Scientists are yet to make a firm decision on whether or not to open the tomb, but non-invasive techniques were allegedly tabled.

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