Ancient Greeks, China Contact Happened Way Before Marco Polo: Experts
DNA evidence specific to Europeans was found at several sites in China, suggesting Europeans may have settled there between 259 and 210 B.C., according to the BBC, which will air a documentary exploring these claims on Oct 16.
Study of 8,000 terracotta soldiers made to guard the tomb of China’s first emperor Qin Shi Huang also has led archaeologists to speculate that European influence must have existed during that time period. The terracotta figures are life-sized, similar to Greek statues of the same time period, but no life-size statues are believed to have existed previous to these. Statues found from earlier time periods were only about 8 inches high.
Professor Lukas Nickel from the University of Vienna asserts the Greek influence is clear. “I imagine that a Greek sculptor may have been at the site to train the locals,” he told the BBC, suggesting Greek statues must have arrived in Central Asia after Alexander the Great died in 323 B.C.
The life-size statues were discovered by farmers in 1974 and include more than 8,000 soliders, 130 chariots, and 520 horses, as well as circus acrobats, musicians, and bronze birds. The statues are extraordinarily detailed and show different personalities rather than being all the same.
Excavation of the site continues to this day, and many of the statues have only been scanned with X-ray equipment while they remain buried.