China's earliest wine unearthed in tomb

Beijing, July 6 (IANS) Liquid found inside an ancient wine vessel unearthed in China's Shaanxi province is believed to be the earliest wine in the country's history, dating back to the time of the West Zhou Dynasty (1046 B.C.-771 B.C.), archaeologists said.

The wine vessel made of bronze was found in a tomb of a noble man of the dynasty in Shigushan Mountain in Baoji city, Xinhua reported.

The liquid is likely the oldest wine discovered in China, said Liu Jun, director of the Baoji Archaeology Institute.

The vessel, one of the six discovered inside 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 (1600 B.C.-1046 B.C.), 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-cm-long and 21-cm-tall "prohibition device" was unearthed with the wine vessels in the same tomb, which is the first of this kind unearthed in Baoji, he said.