Archeological team of the Xian Warriors win top Spanish prize

19th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

The archeological team behind China's terracotta Xian Warriors was Wednesday awarded Spain's prestigious Prince of Asturias prize for scientific and technical research.

"Considered one of the most important archaeological discoveries of the 20th Century, the site of the terracotta warriors, also known as the warriors of Xian, is a rich source of information about the Chinese civilization," the foundation said in a statement.

The army of thousands of life-size warriors and horses of the Qin emperor more than 2,200 years ago was discovered by chance in 1974. In 1987, it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

"Its discovery has had a major impact on research in sculpture, architecture and Chinese society during this period of formation and consolidation of the empire...

"The discoveries so far are very important, but there is still a lot of work to do, since it is one of the most outstanding archaeological findings in China and its excavation and conservation poses enormous technical difficulties," the foundation said.

"For all of this, the team in charge of carrying out these tasks has been awarded" the Asturias Prize.

The award is aimed at rewarding "the scientific, technical, cultural, social and humanistic work performed by individuals, groups of individuals or institutions at international level."

Last year's prize went to two US engineers, Martin Cooper and Raymond Samuel Tomlinson, for their work in email and mobile phone technology.

The Asturias foundation annually hands out eight awards, each worth 50,000 euros (61,000 dollars) in the fields of communication and humanities, scientific and technical research, social science, arts, letters, international cooperation, international understanding and sport.

The science prize is the second to be announced this year, after American avant-garde sculptor Richard Serra won the arts award.

© 2010 AFP

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