Forty-five ancient tombs have been discovered about 5 kilometers from the mausoleum of Qin Shihuang and its Terracotta Warriors. Archaeologists believe the tombs could belong to the designers and workers who built the mausoleum.
The Terracotta Warriors and horses, as well as the other rare relics unearthed from the funerary pits next to the emperor's mausoleum, might have been made by the people interred in the 45 tombs. The tombs were distributed over an area of 1,200 meters from east to west by 300 meters from north to south.
Altogether, 50 tombs were found in the area, of which 45 held a person buried in a coffin with his legs twisted. Leg twisting was a burial custom typical of the Qin Dynasty, leading archaeologists to believe that the tombs belonged to that period. The other five tombs were thought to date from later dynasties.
The Terracotta Warriors and horses of the Qin Dynasty, which have been considered among the archaeological wonders of the world and have attracted millions of visitors from both home and abroad annually, were found in 1974 in pits next to the mausoleum. Later, a museum was built to cover the pits; it opened to the public in October 1979.
Qin Shihuang (259-210 BC), is often placed at the top of the list of China's greatest statesmen, strategists, reformers and military strategists, mainly for his unification of China. He was the founder and first emperor of the Qin Dynasty, the first feudal dynasty in the country's history.