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Ancient Mysteries

2,000-year-old pot contains 'elixir of immortality'

March 5, 2019 | Comment icon 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 | Comments (11)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #2 Posted by poohbear 3 years ago
'Elixir of immortality' .......Found in a tomb....didn't work then?
Comment icon #3 Posted by Nnicolette 3 years ago
Why do I have a feeling some crazy people are still going to press to try it. I mean if they petitioned to drink mummy sewage...
Comment icon #4 Posted by Seti42 3 years ago
I was just thinking that, LOL. 
Comment icon #5 Posted by eddword 3 years ago
No kidding!.. And I don't have a pot to p*** in!
Comment icon #6 Posted by bison 3 years ago
Potassium nitrate is a food preservative, particularly of meat. Alunite is used in pickling, also a food preservation method. One begins to see a pattern here. What makes foodstuffs last was supposed to do the same for a human being. Seems like rather simplistic thinking from our perspective, but twenty centuries ago it probably seemed to make sense.    
Comment icon #7 Posted by spartan max2 3 years ago
I'm sure 20 centuraries from now alot of people will think our health methods are dumb haha
Comment icon #8 Posted by Nnicolette 3 years ago
I've heard that all these preservatives we eat now are making our corpses stay looking preserved longer. I don't know where i heard that though, is that true? Where's the gorilla?
Comment icon #9 Posted by Reignite 3 years ago
And I think it is simplistic thinking that you assume to know how Chinese people must have thought 2 millennia ago.
Comment icon #10 Posted by godnodog 3 years ago
It's not an immortality elixir, trust me, I left it there as a joke.
Comment icon #11 Posted by susieice 3 years ago
The article says the nobleman was well preserved. They don't know if it was meant to be consumed. It would be interesting to know what the studies of the body shows.


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