China's famed Terracotta Warriors, an ancient army of 8,000 life-size soldiers, are deteriorating and may one day disappear unless China takes steps to protect the relics, according to a recently published paper, reported the The Smithsonian.
The soldiers date to 209 B.C. and were discovered by farmers in 1975. The terracotta army is on display in a vast pit, which makes it hard to maintain control over the temperature and humidity. Researchers fear environmental pollutants and lack of temperture and humidity control are causing the army to deteriorate.
Like many tourists, I visited the Terracotta Warriors during a trip to Xian in 2007. I was surprised at how close visitors could get to the army. Those that paid an additional fee could have their picture taken next to a cluster of soldiers and even touch them. I hope the Chinese government will realize the importance of preserving the army not for the comfort of visitors traveling to see them but to maintain a significant historical place for generations to come.