Archaeologists Come Across ‘Elixir of Life’ In An Ancient 2000-Year Old Tomb


According to reports published in the Xinhua News Agency, archaeologists have found a mysterious concoction at a site in China’s Henan province. It pertains to 3.5 liters of a liquid with an ‘alcoholic’ aroma contained within a bronze pot. This object with the brew is dated from some time between 202 BC – 8 AD, corresponding to the Western Han period.

The site in question here entails a 210 sq m (2,260 sq ft) tomb of a noble family located in proximity to the city of Luoyang. And while the fascinating discovery was made in October of last year, with initial assessment hypothesizing how the liquid was possibly an ancient liquor (because of its alcoholic smell), further lab analysis has revealed something arguably far more interesting. To that end, the liquid, as noted by Pan Fusheng (leading archaeologist of the excavation project), was found to be a concoction containing compounds like potassium nitrate and alunite – the main ingredients of the ‘elixir of immortality’ prescribed in the ancient Taoist text.


Shi Jiazhen, head of the Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology in Luoyang, further added –

It is the first time that mythical ‘immortality medicines’ have been found in China. The liquid is of significant value for the study of ancient Chinese thoughts on achieving immortality and the evolution of Chinese civilization.


Additionally, the archaeologists have found color-painted clay pots, jadeware and bronze objects from the ancient tomb site, complemented by the preserved remains of the tomb occupants. And lastly, and pretty interestingly enough, since we are talking about liquid concoctions, China’s Henan province previously revealed almost 9,000-year-old residues of what must have been a fascinating brew of rice, honey, and fruit (both hawthorne and grapes). In fact, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), this prehistoric drink from the Neolithic Age possibly ‘inspired’ the cereal beverages found inside sealed bronze vessels of the Shang and Western Zhou Dynasties, from circa 2nd millennium BC. Interestingly enough, the very same site in Henan also yielded the earliest known playable instruments, the earliest known domesticated rise in northern China, and possibly also the earliest Chinese pictographic writing.

Source: Xinhua News

Image Credits: VCG

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