During the days of China's Han dynasty, when a ruler died his corpse was carefully packed with jade "plugs." These were believed to guarantee immortality for the deceased.
China, as we know it today, would not exist without the Han Dynasty. About two millenniums ago, its emperors ruled for over 400 years, and yet, few visible remains of this period exist above ground. Underground, however, it's a different story. Join a team of archaeologists as they enter the royal tombs of three emperors spanning the reign of the Han Dynasty. By excavating these sites, they hope to further our knowledge of their wealth, their beliefs, their quest for immortality, and how their culture and philosophy shaped modern China.
Access even more free Smithsonian Channel full episodes and documentaries online through participating TV providers.
Find out if your television provider carries Smithsonian Channel.
Don't panic! It's simple to upgrade to the latest version of one of these browsers:
Don't panic! To get the best possible experience on smithsonianchannel.com we recommend you upgrade your operating system.
For the best possible site experience, please use Chrome for Android.
Add username "SmithsonianChan" on Snapchat for fun and fascinating facts. We'll be sharing spontaneous photos and videos as inspiration strikes.