China’s famed Terracotta warriors and horses are deteriorating and scientists are urging new measures to better preserve them.
Researchers say the preservation of immovable historic relics displayed in large open spaces, such as China’s world-renowned Museum of Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses, requires air curtains and other modifications to recreate the primitive environment from which archaeologists excavated the relics.
That was the conclusion reached in a study of environmental control measures for archaeology museums in China.
The study appears in The American Chemical Society’s journal, Environmental Science & Technology.
ZhaoLin Gu and his colleagues pointed out that environmental factors had deteriorated many of the more than 1500 unearthed relics in China’s Museum of Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses, for instance, and in other museums involving large open spaces.
The Qin museum covers an area of more than 17,500 square yards – almost three football fields.
More than 5 million people visit the museum every year to see the life-size terracotta figures of warriors and horses uncovered in the mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang, who was born in 259BC and became the first emperor of all China.
The study recommends new measures to better preserve such artifacts. One involves use of an “air curtain” that would blow across the space to separate the figurines in the Qin Museum from the outside environment.
The air curtains would keep pollutants and heat away from the inside of the pits. A layer of cool air would also be used in the bottom of the pits to help form a blanket of stagnant air around the relics for protection from the environment.
The authors acknowledge funding for their work from National Science and Technology Ministry of China.