2,000-year-old pot contains 'elixir of immortality'
March 5, 2019 | 11 comments
Mankind has been obsessed with immortality for millennia. Image Credit: CC 2.0 Robert-Couse-Baker
Archaeologists in China have unearthed an ancient bronze vessel containing a rather curious concoction.
The elixir was discovered alongside painted clay pots, a goose-shaped lamp and the well-preserved remains of a nobleman who had been buried in his family's tomb in central China's Henan Province.
At the time, the archaeologists who excavated the site believed that the vessel, which contained around 3.5 liters of a yellow fluid that smelled strongly of alcohol, had been used to store wine.
Since then however, laboratory testing has revealed the substance to be something a lot more unusual - an 'elixir of immortality' comprised primarily of potassium nitrate and alunite.
"It is the first time that mythical 'immortality medicines' have been found in China," said Shi Jiazhen of China's Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology.
"The liquid is of significant value for the study of ancient Chinese thoughts on achieving immortality and the evolution of Chinese civilization."
It remains unclear whether the liquid was actually intended for drinking or if it was simply used as a ceremonial object, however its contents certainly wouldn't have done anyone any favors.
Given that the elixir is now over 2,000 years old, drinking it today is definitely not recommended.
Source: Science Alert
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