Imperial Logistics: The Making of the Terracotta Army
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3d models and 3d prints

Xiuzhen, Marcos and I, together with colleagues at the Terracotta Army museum, have been busy working on a range of fun topics over the last few months. Some of this work relates to the geochemistry of the terracotta warriors and their weapons, other bits relate to warrior postures and formation in the pits, and we’ve just finished a paper on the spatial pattens of weapons and warriors that were marked with Chinese characters or numbers by the Qin artisans who made them. At first glance, these things don’t all immediately fit nicely together as research questions, but actually we think they do offer some really useful mutual insights. Hopefully, more news in the spring and summer! More...

Published: Feb 22, 2016 3:14:02 PM

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Imperial Logistics: The Making of the Terracotta Army

View of Pit 1 of the Terracotta Army. Photograph by Xia Juxian

Imperial Logistics: The Making of the Terracotta Army is a collaboration between the UCL Institute of Archaeology and the Museum of Emperor Qin Shihuang's Mausoleum in Xi'an, central China, that is investigating the crafting methods and logistical organisation behind the making of the vast Terracotta Army which guarded the mausoleum of China’s first emperor, Qin Shihuang (259-210 BC).

Our project brings together specialists from several different fields in order to open up entirely new areas of insight into both the warriors and their world, by combining close typological study, materials science and spatial analysis. Our longer-term aims are to ensure that the new methods we are developing can be applied across the whole mausoleum complex, and used for studying craft specialisation, logistical organisation, cross-craft linkages and the rise of imperial authorities elsewhere in the world.

Given the project’s wider context as an international collaboration centred on a World Heritage site, two important further dimensions are specialist knowledge exchange among Chinese and Western scholars, and wide public engagement.

In 2012, the project was adopted by the British Academy as an “Academy Research Project”, in recognition of “the excellence of its scholarship, and the promise and excitement of its programmes”.

This website presents the basic aspects of the project background, aims and output, as well as news of our progress. Further information can be found in our Terracotta Army Blog. If you would like to contact us, please do!


Imperial Logistics: The Making of the Terracotta Army
UCL Institute of Archaeology, 31-34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY UK
+44 (0) 20 7679 7496 ·