In 1974, farmers digging wells in China discovered a vast army of over 8,000 life-sized terracotta figures, mostly soldiers, buried with the body of the first Emporer around 200 BC. Now it’s been discovered that they were guarding more than an emperor’s body?they were guarding a vast treasure.

Karla Adam writes in the Independent that archeologists using special X-ray equipment have discovered a large number coins inside the sealed tomb, leading them to conclude that the emperor was buried with his state treasure. This means that his death effectively bankrupted the country. It’s also likely that the coins are made of gold or other precious metals and are a still worth a fortune today.

At age 13, Qin Shihuang ordered a huge underground tomb to be built for him. He was poisoned at age 49. Archeologists think it took 700,000 men over 36 years to built the tomb and to create the terracotta army.

It amazing that no grave robbers have looted this treasure in over 2,000 years. Perhaps archeologists will eventually send robots down to investigate the tomb, the same way they are using them to drill through doors blocking the secret chambers in the pyramid of Giza.

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