2,000-year-old wine is found inside a lavish ancient tomb in China

Vintage wine, anyone? 2,000-year-old alcohol is found inside a lavish ancient tomb in China

  • Liquid was discovered in a bronze vessel used by ancient Chinese to keep wine
  • The pot contains 3.5 litres of fluid dating back to West Han Dynasty (202BC-8AD)
  • People at the time lived a comfortable life and loved drinking wine, experts say
  • The ancient tomb is large and lavish and likely belonged to a high-level official

Did ancient Chinese people love drinking wine like the Europeans? The answer is yes.

Archaeologists claim to have found a pot of wine from more than 2,000 years ago in an ancient tomb in China.

The bronze vessel contains 3.5 litres of liquid which dates back to China’s West Han Dynasty (202BC-8AD), a researcher told MailOnline.


Chinese archaeologists have discovered 3.5 litres of liquid (left) in an ancient vessel (right) typically used to contain wine. Researchers say the liquid dates back to West Han Dynasty

The 210 sq. metre tomb has six parts, including the main chamber and two smaller chambers


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The tipple was unearthed in September inside a tomb thought to belong to a local official in the ancient capital of Luoyang in central China.

Researchers at Luoyang Municipal Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology were excavating a group of more than 300 ancient tombs in Luoyang’s Xigong district when they made the discovery. 

Pan Fusheng, a deputy researcher from the institute, told MailOnline that the liquid was pale yellow and had a slight alcoholic scent when the team opened the vessel.

‘We think it was wine. The pot was a typical alcoholic container from the time,’ said researcher Pan. 

He added: ‘We know that people from West Han loved drinking alcohol. Previously we have found many drinking cups and goblets in the tombs.

‘It is probably because China was prosperous during the time and people lived a happy and comfortable life.’


According to a researcher, people from the West Han Dynasty loved drinking alcohol and the team have previously found many drinking cups and goblets in the tombs from the era


Dozens of pots and plates, large bronze serving trays, coins and an extremely rare lamp shaped after a goose (left) have also been unearthed in the tomb in Luoyang in September

After being buried for two millennia, the alcohol content in the liquid has mostly evaporated, which is why the ‘wine’ has such a light colour, according to the expert. It has survived until today because the container was sealed well.

Pan and his colleagues plan to carry out further studies to determine the exact content of the liquid.

The wine vessel was excavated from a luxurious tomb situated about 1,000 metres (3,280 feet) from the site of the old Luoyang town during the West Han Dynasty.

Occupying 210 square metres (2,260 square feet), the tomb has six parts, including the main chamber and two smaller chambers.

Researchers found one skeleton in the tomb. Its identity remains unknown. However, expert say the tomb likely belonged to a high-level government official.

‘He was not just rich. We think he could be the county’s magistrate,’ explained Pan.


The identity of the tomb’s owner remains unknown, but researchers say the tomb likely belonged to a high-level government official judging from the relics (pictured) they found

Experts were digging 300 tombs in Luoyang’s Xigong district when they made the discovery

Apart from the liquid, archaeologists discovered more than 100 relics inside the tomb, including dozens of pots and plates, large bronze serving trays, coins and an extremely rare lamp shaped after a goose – an animal well loved by ancient Chinese people.

A large number of jewellery made of jade were also unearthed in the main chamber.  

Earlier this year, another team of Chinese archaeologists came across 300 millilitres of liquid likely to be wine in the north-west China’s Shaanxi Province.

The liquid was found inside a commoner’s tomb and thought to be from the Qin Dynasty (221-207BC). 

Experts from Archaeological Research Institute of Shaanxi Province believed the milky yellow liquid was a type of fermented alcoholic beverage.

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