China's earliest wine unearthed in NW tomb

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Vessels unearthed in a tomb in Shizuishan Moutnain in Baoji City.

Liquid inside an ancient wine vessel unearthed in Shaanxi Province is considered to be the earliest wine in China's history, archaeologists told Xinhua Thursday.

The wine vessel made of bronze was unearthed in a noble's tomb of the West Zhou Dynasty (1046 BC - 771 BC) in Shigzuishan 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 (1600BC-1046BC), the dynasty before the Zhou Dynasty, wine became a symbol of corruption as Shang officials used to drink excessively, he said.

The people of Zhou made "prohibition devices" to put on the table to remind people to drink in moderation, he said.

A 95-centimeter-long and 21-centimeter-tall "prohibition 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 on Thursday.

The excavation work is still underway at the site and more bronze devices are expected to be discovered in the next couple of days.

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