Thousand arms dating guide
Pit 2 has cavalry and infantry units as well as war chariots and is thought to represent a military guard.
Pit 3 is the command post, with high-ranking officers and a war chariot.
The construction of the tomb was described by historian Sima Qian (145–90 BCE) in his most noted work Shiji, written a century after the mausoleum's completion.
Work on the mausoleum began in 246 BCE soon after Emperor Qin (then aged 13) ascended the throne, and the project eventually involved 700,000 workers.
They variously contain bronze carriages, terracotta figures of entertainers such as acrobats and strongmen, officials, stone armour suits, burials sites of horses, rare animals and labourers, as well as bronze cranes and ducks set in an underground park. They vary in height, uniform, and hairstyle in accordance with rank.
Their faces appear to be different for each individual figure; scholars, however, have identified 10 basic face shapes.
This discovery prompted Chinese archaeologists to investigate, revealing the largest pottery figurine group ever found in China.
A museum complex has since been constructed over the area, with the largest pit enclosed within with a large structure.
Some of the figures in Pits 1 and 2 show fire damage, while remains of burnt ceiling rafters have also been found.
This design was also used for the tombs of nobles and would have resembled palace hallways when built.
The wooden ceilings were covered with reed mats and layers of clay for waterproofing, and then mounded with more soil raising them about 2 to 3 metres (6 ft 7 in to 9 ft 10 in) above the surrounding ground level when completed.
These were discarded as worthless and used along with soil to back fill the excavations.
These are located approximately 1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi) east of the burial mound.