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Last Updated: Saturday, 21 June, 2003, 20:46 GMT 21:46 UK
Ancient wine found in China
By Jannat Jalil
BBC News

There is a saying that fine wine improves with age. But does this apply to a wine that is 2,000 years old. Well, archaeologists in China may soon be able to tell us.

State media said that when Chinese archaeologists unearthed a large bronze jar in the Western city of Xi'an they discovered about five litres of light green rice wine inside.

Ancient pagoda in the middle of a rice field
Civilisations rose and fell, but the wine remained unsampled
The jar shaped like a phoenix head was found in a tomb.

One archaeologist was quoted as saying that the high purity of the wine indicated the owner was a nobleman.

It is thought to date back to the early Western Han dynasty which held sway over much of China 2,000 years ago.

Wine from the period has been found in other tombs but this is the best-preserved and the largest quantity ever discovered.

It is thought the find will significantly help in the study of how ancient China developed wine making technology.

There is no information yet on what this wine tastes like.

The archaeologists have stored it in a glass container for further study.


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