After more than a year's excavation and research in northwest China's Shaanxi
Province, Chinese archeologists have concluded that a large tomb belonged to the
grandmother of Qinshihuang, the country's first emperor.
Zhang Tian'en, an expert with the Shaanxi Provincial Archeology Institute,
said on Saturday that the tomb was chronologically the closest to the mysterious
mausoleum of Qinshihuang, and was probably built on the emperor's orders.
"We are hoping that the excavation of his grandmother's tomb will help
unravel the mystery about the first emperor's mausoleum, which still cannot be
excavated. It will also contribute to research into Qin Dynasty burial culture,"
Located under the new campus of the Xi'an Business College, the tomb is about
30 kilometers southwest of Qinshihuang's famous mausoleum. Qinshihuang united
seven warring states and founded the Qin Dynasty in 221 BC.
The tomb is 550 meters long and 310 meters wide, covering 17.3 hectares.
Archeologists unearthed two carriages designed to be driven by six horses,
which could only be used by kings and queens in the State of Qin.
The seals of court officials responsible for running errands on behalf of
queens, queen mothers and princes, have also been found, said Wang Hui, an
expert with Shaanxi Normal University.
The archeologists said the tomb belonged to Qinshihuang's grandmother, Queen
According to Ding Yan, an associate researcher with the Shaanxi Research
Institute of Cultural Relics and Archeology, the main tomb for the Queen Mother
is 140 meters long, 113 meters wide and 15 meters deep, with the tomb chamber
covering an area of more than 100 square meters.
Ding said that since the tomb was raided and burned several times, only
fragments of Qin coins, grey clay vases and red clay boilers have been
unearthed, as well as shards of decorative and ritual jade objects, broken
pottery and pieces of bronze.
Sadly, Qinshihuang's grandmother's inner and outer coffins were also burned,
The tomb is still under excavation.
Zhang Tian'en said that the Queen Mother lived until Qinshihuang was 20 years
old and in the seventh year of his reign.
The royal lady is believed to have exerted considerable influence on the
politics of the later years of the State of Qin and on Qinshihuang in