Imperial Logistics: The Making of the Terracotta Army
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3d models and the faces of Qin?

We're excited to have just had another paper come out (you can find it in the Journal of Archaeological Science here) that describes how we have been building 3d models of the terracotta warriors and using them not simply for nice documentation and presentation, but also to try to address some thorny analytical questions too. The 3d modelling technique itself is an extremely promising one (derived from the fascinating filed of 'computer vision') which is fast becoming popular in archaeology since it was first introduced a couple of years ago (our project can claim to be an early adopter, but the first archaeological application is probably this one). I'll come back to the technique itself below, but the background rationale for why we might find such models useful for the Imperial Logistics project is also interesting. More...

Published: Jun 13, 2014 9:54:00 AM

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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!

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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 · terracotta-army@ucl.ac.uk