Terracotta Army Facts

Terracotta Warriors Pit 3

Walk 25 meters (27 yards) northwest from Pit 1 and you will arrive at Terracotta Warriors Pit 3. Although this is the smallest of the three main pits, with an area of 520 square meters (622 square yards), it was the command center for both Terracotta Warriors Pit 1 and Pit 2. The archaeological team has already finished the excavation work on Pit No. 3, which was found in June 1976 and opened to the public on September 2, 1989.
Terracotta Warriors Pit 3
Panoramic View of Terracotta Warriors Pit 3

   Pictures of Terracotta Warriors Pit 3

What to See inside Terracotta Warriors Pit 3

Built in the shape of the Chinese character “凹”, the Terracotta Army Pit 3 measures 17.6 meters (19.2 yards) long from east to west, 21.4 meters (23.4 yards) wide from north to south and 4.8 meters (15.7 feet) deep. It can be divided into three parts: chariot and horse chamber, northern wing room, and southern wing room. It is thought that the northern wing room was used to pray for victory and the southern one for collecting military tactics. A total of 68 lifelike terracotta warriors were excavated from this pit, 42 from the southern wing room and 22 from the northern one. Sadly, many of them are missing their heads. The archaeologists also found a lot of well-preserved bronze weaponry, as well as gold, stone and bronze decorations, inside Pit 3. A distinctive chariot equipped with four horses was discovered inside the chamber of the pit.

Headquarter group of the whole underground army
Xian Terracotta Army Pit 3
Xian Terracotta Army - Pit 3
Soldiers Standing Face to Face insde the Pit

Terracotta Warriors Pit 3 - Command Center of Terracotta Army

Experts have pointed out that Pit 3 was the headquarters of the entire Terracotta Army. One of the reasons for this assumption is that it is situated behind Pit 1 and Pit 2 in a secure and concealed location. Furthermore, the terracotta warriors are all arranged face to face along the two sides of the passageways to the main hall, seeming to guard the officers inside the southern and northern wing rooms. Additionally, the Shu in these soldiers’ hands, about 14 centimeters (5.5 inches) long, doesn’t have a sharp blade, hence the archaeologists guess that it was a kind of ceremonial article rather than a weapon. Last, but not least, the unique chariot with colored patterns is different from the ones found in pit 1 and 2 in that it has four soldiers, one more than the others, and might be there to serve the commanding officers.

The Commander-In-Chief is Missing

One thing that puzzles experts very much is that no terracotta warrior commander-in-chief has been found. Some experts think that a general was only chosen and appointed just before a war. These terracotta soldiers are on standby, therefore there is no commander because the war hasn’t started. Others believe that the Emperor Qin Shi Huang was the commander-in-chief himself, and in order to defend the emperor's dignity and absolute authority his image cannot be replicated in the pit. But both explanations are conjecture, and experts are trying to discover the true reason.


Terracotta Warriors without Heads in Pit 3Why Don’t Many of the Qin Terracotta Warriors Unearthed in the Pit 3 Have Heads?

It is believed that these warriors did have heads when they were originally produced. Archaeologists speculate that at some point vandals broke into this pit and deliberately destroyed the warriors. During the archaeological excavation, a villager revealed that he dug out half of a warrior's head in the southern wall of what is now the Qin Terracotta Warriors Museum. He returned the head and archaeologists searched across the various body pieces for a match. Finally, they matched it to a warrior body discovered in Pit 3. This is one possible explanation for why many of the heads are not in the pit.

 Recommended Tour Itinerary:
Terracotta Warriors Tour: One-day to visit Terracotta Warriors and Horses and more
More Xian Tours

Next: Bronze Chariots and Horses

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