May 29, 2009
Footprints 2,000 years old are helping archeologists recreate a war scene in China.
According to the Xinhua News Agency, the footprints were discovered two weeks ago by a team from the Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archeology along a 700-km dirt road once used as a military route. The road was built under the rein of the “First Emperor” of a united China, Qin Shihuang, whose best-known legacy is an underground army of terracotta figures and horses.
Long buried under mountain villages and modern highways, the road’s formal excavation started in Fuxian County in early March. Experts have so far located about 50 meters.
In addition to footprints, remains of primitive buildings have been unearthed in Huashugou Village of Fuxian County on the outskirts of Yan’an City. These were likely used as barracks or military service stations.
"We also found an arrowhead close to the footprints," researcher Zhang Zaiming told the Xinhua News Agency. "Judging from its location, we assumed whoever left the footprints had been its targets."
In trying to recreate the scene from all the evidence, researchers believe women and children were caught in a battle and were fleeing for their lives.
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