2,400-year-old pot containing soup found

Archaeologist Liu Daiyun picks up what experts believe to be a piece of animal bone from soup that dates back 2,400 years contained in a three-legged bronze cauldron in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province Friday. Photo: CFP

A 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The bronze vessel is known through historical documents as a container that was used for cooking and serving meat, the Shaanxi-based Chinese Business View reported Saturday.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. Read Full Article

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