2,400-year-old soup found in China
Working in China, archaeologists discovered the remains of the soup aged2.4 thousand years. Ancient food was in a bronze vessel found in a tomb in Shanxi province. Inside the container they found several bones, covered with a patina – the oxide-carbonate film is formed on the metal surface. The vessel was closed, and scientists re-sealed lid, after samples of food.
(Globaltimes.cn) 2,400-year-old three-legged bronze cauldron containing soup and bones has been discovered in a tomb under excavation in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, a Shaanxi-based archeologist said Sunday.
The vessel, 20 centimeters tall and 24.5 centimeters in diameter, contains several bones soaked in liquid whose surface is covered in patina, a fine green film that forms on bronze due to natural oxidation. The bones appear green due to being immersed in the patina.
“The vessel has been sealed again after we took some samples. We are contacting specialist institutions to analyze the ingredients of the soup,” Liu Daiyun, an archeologist from the Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology who led the excavation, told the Global Times Sunday.
“It’s the first discovery of bone soup in Chinese archeological history. The discovery will play an important role in studying the eating habits and culture of the Warring States Period (475BC– 221BC),” said Liu.
However, Zhao Huacheng, vice dean of the School of Archaeology and Museology, Peking University, said it is too early to draw any conclusions.
“Without final test proof, the liquid could be something else. Some other liquids may have flowed into the pot,” Zhao told the Global Times Sunday.
The bronze vessel is known through historical documents as a container that was used for cooking and serving meat, the Shaanxi-based Chinese Business View reported Saturday.
In the tomb, archeologists also unearthed a bronze pot that contained an odorless liquid that could be wine, Liu said. The amount of liquid is estimated at about one liter and is semi-transpar-ent. Pieces of a pottery bowl were found at the bottom of the pot.
Experts believe that the bowl was broken and placed in the pot on purpose, as superstition held that it would make it more convenient for the dead to drink.
Archeologists believe the tomb belongs to either a member of the landowning class or a low-ranking military officer (Shizu) of the Warring States period, as it is located 300 meters away from the tomb of a Qin state king.
The tomb is near an extension to a construction site of Xi’an Xianyang International Airport, the report said.
Liu attributed the well-preserved state of the soup to good enclosure conditions and the absence of grave robbers.
Xi’an is one of China’s oldest cities and has a rich historical heritage. It has more than 3,000 years of history, including over 1,100 years as the capital city of ancient dynasties.
“Due to insufficient technology, governments now prefer to protect most tombs underground instead of excavating them in case they cause any damage to them, unless some have to be unearthed to make way for major infrastructure construction,” Liu added.