Chinese archaeologists discover 2,000-year-old liquor from ancient tomb

Nov 07, 2018, 17:55 IST | PTI

The liquid when poured into a measuring glass it gave off an aroma of rice wine, a senior Chinese archaeologist said

Chinese archaeologists discover 2,000-year-old liquor from ancient tomb
Representational picture

Archaeologists have unearthed a bronze pot, dating back some 2,000 years with some liquid likely to be rice wine, from a Western Han dynasty tomb in central China's Henan province, according to a media report Tuesday. The liquid when poured into a measuring glass it gave off an aroma of rice wine, a senior Chinese archaeologist said.

"There was about 3.5 litres of the transparent yellow colour liquid in it. It smelled like wine," said Shi Jiazhen, head of the Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology in the city of Luoyang. He said that there was a need for further research on the discovered pot's content to accurately ascertain the ingredients of the liquid. Apart from the bronze pot, a large number of colour-painted clay pots and bronze artifacts were also unearthed from the tomb, which covers 210 square metres, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

The remains of the tomb occupant have been preserved, said Shi, adding a research in the lab would be conducted on the items found in the main tomb. Rice wine of similar age had earlier been found in other tombs dating back to the Western Han period (202 BC to AD 8). Liquor made from rice or sorghum grains were a major part of ceremonies and ritual sacrifices in ancient China. It was often contained with elaborate bronze cast vessels. Shi said the bronze pot containing the liquid is one of the two big bronze items unearthed from the tomb.

The other item is a lamp in the shape of a wild goose, which was the first of its kind found in the city of Luoyang, capital of 13 dynasties, with a history of 3,000 years. Archaeologists have also recently discovered jade ware that dates back over 4,000 years at a site in central China's Hubei Province. Jade battle-axes, an astronomical instrument and a tube, dating back to between 4,600 to 5,100 years ago, have been unearthed at the Mulintou site in Baokang County. Besides jade ware, other items including human skeletons, stoneware and pottery have also been found from the site, the Xinhua reported.

"A jade battle-axe was considered as a symbol of power. The astronomical instrument also indicated owners of the tombs were high-level people," said Da Haobo, the leader of the team of archaeologists. Fang Qin, curator of the provincial museum, said that the new findings are crucial for the study of the funeral customs of the Qujialing culture, a late Neolithic culture discovered in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River.

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