Secrets of the Dead (2000– )
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China's Terracotta Warriors 

Secrets of the Dead looks at the construction and history of the Terracotta Warriors who were built to guard the tomb of the first emperor of China.


Steven Talley (as Steven R. Talley)


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Episode credited cast:
Liev Schreiber ... Himself - Narrator
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Catharina Blaensdorf Catharina Blaensdorf ... Herself - Conservator
Glen Cameron Glen Cameron ... Himself - Facial Recognition Expert
Yang Fuxi Yang Fuxi ... Himself - Traditional Chinese Bow Maker
Neil Harrison Neil Harrison ... Himself - Physicist
Hongwei Jing Hongwei Jing ... Himself - Archaelogist
Zhi Liu Zhi Liu ... Himself - Physicist
Apurva Mehta Apurva Mehta ... Himself - Physicist
Eric Palm Eric Palm ... Himself - Facility Director
Han Pingzhe Han Pingzhe ... Himself - Replica Factory Manager
Mao Sanxue Mao Sanxue ... Himself - Sculptor
Suchitra Sebastian Suchitra Sebastian ... Herself - Physicist
Nobumichi Tamura Nobumichi Tamura ... Himself - Physicist
Guo Xingwen Guo Xingwen ... Himself - Historian
Binruo Zhang Binruo Zhang ... Himself - Replica Factory Manager


Secrets of the Dead looks at the construction and history of the Terracotta Warriors who were built to guard the tomb of the first emperor of China.

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Release Date:

4 May 2011 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

3BM Television See more »
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Did You Know?


This program states that First Emperor did not have human sacrifices placed in his tomb, but it would be more accurate to add "that we know of." While the terracotta army and other environs have been excavated and examined, the tomb itself has never been entered for two reasons. First, ancient histories report that it is full of Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) style booby traps. Second, even if there are no booby traps, it is most likely too fragile to withstand being excavated. So it's possible that there are human sacrifices within it, which would certainly suit the character of First Emperor, who indulged in mass murder like a hobby. See more »

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User Reviews

4 December 2011 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

About a decade ago, I had the privilege of going to see a traveling exhibit of some of the terracotta warriors from the the Qin dynasty. It was one of the first time actual figures from China left the country and it was a truly fascinating exhibit. Not surprisingly, when I saw this episode of "Secrets of the Dead" on Netflix, I was excited to see it.

Despite the show's title, not a lot of time is spent discussing deaths or looking at human remains. In some ways it's a shame as the way that Qin Shi Huangdi died and his death was hidden make for an interesting story. Instead, the bulk of the show is about the terracotta warriors. In particular, how they were made and the logistics of this was discussed. It was all pretty fascinating considering they've already unearthed 8000 of them! One thing struck me as odd about the show. They seemed to imply that this first emperor of China was a bit of a humanitarian since they did not kill his royal court and bury them with him like previous leaders. However, this is a misnomer for two reasons. First (and most importantly), the Chinese have never entered the actual tomb--and they are afraid to do so as it's reportedly booby-trapped. Plus, the excavation might just destroy everything inside. So, there COULD be lots of human sacrifices inside. Second, Qin Shi Huangdi was NOT a nice fellow and built huge portions of the Great Wall--at a cost of many thousands of lives. He was a despot--and his cruelty is why he was the first and last in his dynasty. None of this background material was mentioned and I only know it because I am a retired history teacher.

Overall, this is a very good show in most ways. Talking about all the possible ways they made the warriors was quite entertaining. And, apart from the mistake listed in the last paragraph, the shock was chock for of interesting tidbits.

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