Archaeologists say they've found the remains of an ancient imperial palace in China near the tomb of emperor Qin Shi Huang, home of the famous terracotta army.
The palace is the largest complex discovered so far in the huge 22-square-mile mausoleum of the 2nd century B.C. emperor located on the outskirts of the ancient capital city Xi'an in central China, Britain's The Guardian reported Monday.
Eighteen courtyard-style houses surround a main building in the complex, estimated at about 700 yards long by 300 yards wide, Sun Weigang of the Shaanxi provincial institute of archaeology said.
The palace is clearly a predecessor to Beijing's Forbidden City, occupied by emperors during the later Ming and Qing dynasties, Sun said.
The foundations are well-preserved and archaeologists have reported finding walls, gates, stone roads, pottery shards and some brickwork, China's state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.
Qin's tomb is famously guarded by an estimated 6,000 life-size terracotta warriors, including remarkably well-preserved cavalrymen, chariots and horses.
The "terracotta army" was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1987.