Archaeologists in Henan province have unearthed a 2,000-year-old bronze pot with a mystery liquid inside. Apparently, none of them were brave enough to drink it.
The swanneck-shaped pot was found in an ancient tomb near the city of Sanmenxia along with the Yellow River. It is believed to date back to the late-Qin (221-206 BC) or early-Han dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD).
Dug up during a village renovation project on the outskirts of Sanmenxia, the tomb may have belonged to a low-level official.
Inside the tomb, there was also found a bronze helmet, a bronze basin, swords made of iron and jade, and various other relics.
But the swan vessel was the obvious highlight of the dig, containing within more than 3,000 ml of unknown liquid that is yellowish-brown in color. Samples have been sent to Beijing to further testing.
Early money would be on the liquid being some kind of grain alcohol. Booze is sometimes unearthed from ancient tombs. In 2008, archaeologists in Shaanxi province found a pot of rice wine that dates back to about the same time.
A veterinary expert was called in to evaluate the shape of the Sanmenxia pot. He concluded that it was likely a mute swan leading archaeologists to hypothesize that swans used to live in Sanmenxia.