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1 December 2003
Ancient cups show wine made in China 5000 years ago

A large number of drinking vessels recently excavated at Yuchi Temple, south China's Anhui Province, show the Chinese may have been making wine 5,000 years ago, almost 1,000 years before it was previously known.
     The Yuchi Temple site in Mengcheng county dates back about 5,000 years and belongs to the later period of the Dawenkou Culture (4000 BCE- 2600 BCE), a cultural era of the late Neolithic.
     "Before the excavation of the Yuchi Temple site, it was generally believed by archaeologists that China's wine culture began in the Longshan Culture" said Wang Jihuai, a research fellow with the Institute of Archaeology of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. "But from the great quantity of drinking vessels unearthed at Yuchi Temple, we can draw the conclusion that in south China the wine culture was already popular nearly 5,000 years ago. It advances the birth of wine-making in China by nearly 1,000 years," Wang said.
     So far, over 20 types of drinking vessels of different shapes and quality have been unearthed at Yuchi Temple prehistoric site. A 15-centimeter-tall goblet of excellent workmanship drew the attention of the archaeologists. With a mouth as large as that of a glass of today, the earthen goblet is described as "eggshell" because of the thin sides.
     As one of the best preserved and biggest cultural relics of the Neolithic in China, the Yuchi Temple site was a village or castle of the leader of a tribal confederation in the late Patri-clan period. Covering more than 100,000 square meters, over 10 percent of the site has been unearthed since excavations began in 1989.

Source: China View (27 November 2003)

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