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15 July 2012
Archaeologists discover earliest Chinese wine

Liquid inside an ancient wine vessel unearthed in Shaanxi province is considered to be the earliest wine in China's history, archaeologists said. The wine vessel made of bronze was unearthed in a noble's tomb of the West Zhou Dynasty (1046 BCE - 771 BCE) in Shigushan Mountain in Baoji city.
     The liquid is likely the oldest wine discovered in China, said Liu Jun, director of Baoji Archaeology Institute, who is in charge of the project. The vessel, one of the six discovered in the tomb, could be heard to contain a liquid when it was shaken, Liu said. However, the cover of the vessel was pretty solid and there was no appropriate tools to open it at the excavation site, so the liquid remains a mystery, he said.
     During the Shang Dynasty (1600 BCE - 1046 BCE), before the Zhou Dynasty, wine became a symbol of corruption as Shang officials used to drink excessively, he said. The people of Zhou made 'dissuasive devices' to put on the table to remind people to drink in moderation, Liu said. A 95-centimeter-long and 21-centimeter-tall 'dissuasive device' was unearthed with the wine vessels on June 25 in the same tomb, which is the first of this kind unearthed in Baoji, he said.
     Many other bronze devices with inscriptions were unearthed at the site, and the excavation work is still underway.

Edited from Xinhuanet (6 July 2012)

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