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Archaeology & History

Mystery liquid found inside 2,000-year-old pot

By T.K. Randall
June 4, 2020 · Comment icon 9 comments

The pot has a distinctive design. Image Credit: Twitter / Xinhua / Sanmenxia Archaeology
Archaeologists in China have discovered a strange brown liquid inside an ancient pot shaped like a swan.
The elaborately crafted vessel, which has a long top piece shaped like the neck of a swan, was unearthed alongside a number of other artefacts in a tomb in central China's Henan Province.

A total of 3,000ml of the mysterious yellowish-brown liquid was extracted from the pot, however researchers will have to await a chemical analysis to determine exactly what it could be.

The pot, along with a bronze helmet, a bronze basin and a number of iron and jade swords, were discovered during an urban regeneration project in the city of Sanmenxia. The artefacts would have been buried alongside the deceased as part of the funerary practices of the time.

It is believed that the tomb dates back to between 200 BC and 200 AD.
The pot in particular has intrigued researchers due to its unique design.

"The design resembles that of a mute swan," said senior veterinarian Gao Ruyi who was tasked with identifying the specific species upon which the pot's shape was based.

The design suggests that its creators must have observed the birds close-up.

"We can boldly estimate that swans may have appeared in Sanmenxia during the late Qin and early Han dynasties," said Zhu Xiaodong of Sanmenxia's institute of cultural relics and archaeology.

Source: | Comments (9)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by freetoroam 4 years ago
Look forward for the results.   Now these I would like to see. The jade swords might be more interesting to see than a bit of stale water.
Comment icon #2 Posted by DreadLordAvatar 4 years ago
It’s element 115.
Comment icon #3 Posted by moonman 4 years ago
Ancient bedpan.
Comment icon #4 Posted by jbondo 4 years ago
Based on Chinese history, it was likely some sort of wine. Probably now a vinegar or sorts. Hence, the color.
Comment icon #5 Posted by jethrofloyd 4 years ago
Ancient Ketchup?
Comment icon #6 Posted by Still Waters 4 years ago
I hope they publish their results.
Comment icon #7 Posted by TripGun 4 years ago
Probably more of the "Elixir of Immortality" that is found in many of these tombs. A mix of potassium nitrate and alunite
Comment icon #8 Posted by psyche101 4 years ago
Comment icon #9 Posted by TripGun 4 years ago
It works!

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