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

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


Archaeologists have dug up a 2,000-year old bronze pot that might just be hiding some ancient wine, Chinese state news agency Xinhua has reported.


The team discovered almost a gallon of clear yellow fluid in the pot from a large Western Han Dynasty (202 B.C. to 8 B.C.) tomb in the country’s Henan Province.

Pouring the fluid into a measuring jug Tuesday revealed the heady aroma of alcohol, the team reported. “It smells like wine,” Shi Jiazhen, head of the Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology in the city of Luoyang, told Xinhua.

Rice and sorghum rice wine played an important role in ceremonies and sacrifice rituals at the time, he said.

Further tests will reveal the true nature of the liquid, Shi added. As well as wine, the 2,300-square-foot tomb yielded numerous clay pots painted with color and bronze artifacts, as well as human remains, Shi said.

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.