Imperial Logistics: The Making of the Terracotta Army


The terracotta warriors under the microscope

14 March 2013

I arrived back from my first trip to Xi'an to initiate the ceramics phase of the project. Was great to see the Terracotta Army, to see the Mausoleum, and to experience China. Inspirational!

Patrick in Pit 1

Met with Museum staff and discussed at length a strategy for the ceramics phase of the project. Lots of exciting research questions that tie in with our previous work on the bronze weapons. Hoping to also build upon the important Chinese research that has been carried out on the clay sources, but to delve more into the technology used to manufacture the statues.

The plan is to train Zhang Shangxin and Shao Wenbin from the Museum in ceramic analysis here at the UCL Institute of Archaeology. We can then put in place the facilities that we need to analyse material on site. Looking forward to welcoming them both on my intensive training course in April 2013... and returning a bit of British hospitality!

My trip was funded by a UCL Small Research Grant in the Arts and Humanities. This will also allow me to head out in summer 2013 to start working with Zhang and Shao on the ceramics. Looking forward to that.


Patrick Quinn is a Senior Research Fellow in Ceramic Petrography at the UCL Institute of Archaeology.