Archaeologists are terrified to open the tomb of Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor who has been buried for 2,200 years.
The tomb of Qin Shu Huang, who ruled from 221 BC to 210 BC, is guarded by a terracotta army of soldiers and horses. The discovery was found by farmers back in 1974 in the Shaanxi province of China.
While archaeologists explored the area, they have never opened the tomb itself – and within good reason.
According to IFL Science, not only do archaeologists believe it will cause damage, but there are rumours of deathly booby traps that could kill curious intruders.
Writings by Chinese historian Sima Qian 100 years after Qin Shu Huang's death claim "Palaces and scenic towers for a hundred officials were constructed and the tomb was filled with rare artifacts and wonderful treasure."
He continued: "Craftsmen were ordered to make crossbows and arrows primed to shoot at anyone who enters the tomb. Mercury was used to simulate the hundred rivers, the Yangtze and Yellow River, and the great sea, and set to flow mechanically."
Even if those alleged crossbows failed thousands of years later, there are still fears of liquid mercury seeping through the cracks.
"Highly volatile mercury may be escaping through cracks, which developed in the structure over time, and our investigation supports ancient chronicle records on the tomb, which is believed never to have been opened/looted," one 2020 paper suggests, as per the publication.
Scientists have reportedly toyed with the idea of using non-invasive techniques to open the tomb, however, they have not yet come to fruition.