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article imageAncient Chinese super-crossbow discovered

By Christopher Szabo     Mar 24, 2015 in Science
Xi'an - Archaeologists have discovered an extraordinarily powerful crossbow at Xian, the site of the famous terracotta warriors of the First Emperor, Chin Shi Huang Di.
The Daily Mail reports the weapon could fire an arrow 792 meters (2,600 feet). Whether the figure is correct or not, the crossbow was found complete near a terracotta warrior during ongoing excavations at the site of the man who united ancient China, the First Emperor, Chin (or Qin) Shi Huang Di.
Chin Shihuang’s successes against his opponents of the Warring States, like the Kingdom of Chi, have been attributed to the emperor’s organisational ability. The new discovery might mean his troops also had a super-bow with which to hold off enemy attacks while preparing their own.
Another discovery was a so-called “Qing”, which allowed the bow to be stored and transported. Shen Maosheng, head archaeologist, told Central China television:
“We believe that not only in the Qin dynasty but perhaps during the entire Warring States Period they had a very complete system of weapons production, storage and transportation.
“This discovery of the most complete Qin Dynasty crossbow, especially the Qing, provides us with new historical evidence for the follow-up study of the Terracotta, especially the study of the Qin dynasty military force."
The South China Morning Post says the bow is 1,3 meters (more than four feet) across, about two-thirds as long as an English longbow. The ancient Chinese crossbow is different from the much later European model, as it fires a long “bolt” (arrow) in contrast to the short bolts fired from European crossbows.
The claim of almost 800 metres will be decided once scientists are able to reconstruct the bow, which is planned soon, the newspaper said. However, although individual archers have indeed fired single arrows great distances, the maximum range of most bows is about 300 meters (900 feet) so the accuracy of this claim, for a mass-produced weapon, remains to be seen.
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