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A group of Chinese archaeologists found in Henan province, central China, a bronze vessel over 2000 years old that contained some three liters of a mysterious and unknown liquid brown.
The discovery happened in the city of Sanmenxia, west of Henan. The vessel found was unearthed from a grave and has the shape of a swan with a curved neck and the bird's beak pointing downward.
The liquid found inside the vessel, unknown to the naked eye by archaeologists, has a yellowish-brown hue with impurities and a sample of it was sent to Beijing on May 18, to proceed with its analysis, according to the Chinese media Global Times.
The first speculations about this 'rare' liquid, according to its discoverers, was that it was a alcoholic beverage, maybe grain alcohol, but we still have to wait for what the tests say.
In the grave, which was found by chance while working on a sewage system for a suburban Sanmenxia neighborhoodOther objects were also found buried. A bronze helmet, a bowl of the same material and swords made of iron and jade.
Details of the findings
A preliminary analysis indicates that, by the shape of the tomb, would have been built in a tumultuous period between the end of the Quin dynasty -221 BC. C. to 207 a. C.- and the Han dynasty -202 a. to 220 a. C.-. It is also believed that the owner of the funeral parcel could be a low-ranking official at the time.
Zhu Xiaodong , Deputy Director of the Institute of Cultural Relics and Archeology of Sanmenxia pointed out that this was the first bronze vessel of its kind found in the city.
He added that the group of archaeologists invited a veterinarian to identify the bird represented to shape the object found.
«The design resembles that of a mute swan, or vulgar swan (Cygnus olor)"Said Gao Ruyi, Sanmenxia Wetland Park Chief Veterinarian. Noted that the beak of a swan like that of the model is longer than that of a goose, an animal that archaeologists had originally thought they saw.
The archaeologists were later surprised by the accuracy with which they had reflected the morphology of the bird. They imagined they had seen these animals too closely to make such a detailed copy.
«We can boldly estimate that swans may have appeared in Sanmenxia during the Qin and early Han dynasties.“Said Zhu, who also expressed his admiration for the advanced techniques that were then available to work bronze.
Located between Xi’an and Luoyang, two ancient capital cities of Chinese history, Sanmenxia used to serve as a military and commercial traffic stop. As a consequence, the city is rich in historical relics.