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


Posted on Tuesday, 5 March, 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)

Tags: Elixir, Immortality

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #2 Posted by poohbear on 5 March, 2019, 18:48
'Elixir of immortality' .......Found in a tomb....didn't work then?
Comment icon #3 Posted by Nnicolette on 5 March, 2019, 21:12
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 on 5 March, 2019, 23:58
I was just thinking that, LOL. 
Comment icon #5 Posted by eddword on 6 March, 2019, 0:08
No kidding!.. And I don't have a pot to p*** in!
Comment icon #6 Posted by bison on 6 March, 2019, 2:21
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 on 6 March, 2019, 2:36
I'm sure 20 centuraries from now alot of people will think our health methods are dumb haha
Comment icon #8 Posted by Nnicolette on 6 March, 2019, 7:43
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 on 6 March, 2019, 8:08
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 on 7 March, 2019, 7:14
It's not an immortality elixir, trust me, I left it there as a joke.
Comment icon #11 Posted by susieice on 7 March, 2019, 7:32
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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