'Elixir of immortality' is discovered in China for the first time: Bronze pot found in a 2,000-year-old burial tomb contains legendary brew used by the rich to try and cheat death
A fabled 'Elixir of immortality' mentioned throughout ancient Chinese texts has been discovered in a bronze pot hidden inside in a 2,000-year-old burial tomb, experts say.
China's rich and powerful searched for a magical potion over thousands of years that would bring them external life.
The mythical quest for the non-existent cure was inevitably unsuccessful and instead yielded a drink which is thought to have spelled like alcohol.
The container was unearthed in the tomb of the Western Han Dynasty (202 BC-8 AD) noble family and contains six pints (3.5 litres) of the concoction.
'It is the first time that mythical "immortality medicines" have been found in China,' said Shi Jiazhen, head of the Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology in Luoyang, where the burial site is being excavated.'
The liquid is of significant value for the study of ancient Chinese thoughts on achieving immortality and the evolution of Chinese civilisation'.
Archaeologists initially thought that the six pints (3.5 litres) may be liquor as it gave off an alcoholic aroma.
A large number of colour-painted clay pots, jadeware and bronze artefacts were also unearthed from the tomb, which covers 2260 square fee (210 sq m).
The remains of the tomb's occupant have also been preserved.
Pan Fusheng, an archaeologist on the project, added: 'The tomb provides valuable material for study of the life of Western Han nobles as well as the funeral rituals and customs of the period'.
Lab results revealed the potion is largely made up of potassium nitrate and alunite which are not poisonous but are nevertheless used in pesticides, fertilisers and rocket propellants.
Cases of high ranking officials and emperors drinking toxic elixirs are not uncommon in China.
The most famous of these being that of the First Emperor of China Qin Shihuang, who sent an expedition to find the legendary island which contained high quantities of the liquid.
The emperor was known to believe the elixir came in the form of silver mercury and supposedly died from drinking the poison, like many other historical figures.
A scan of the emperor's main burial chamber previously revealed higher than usual levels of mercury and his tomb has been described in historical text as containing 'rivers and lakes of mercury'.
PoeticJustice90, UK, United Kingdom, 8 hours ago
I'll take two
Jabba the wocky, Plymouth, United Kingdom, 12 hours ago
Didn't work so well for the stiff.
GingerBeer, Southern Fried CHICKEN , United Kingdom, 12 hours ago
Why hasn't it evaporated over so many years ?
My 2 Cents Worth, Auckland, New Zealand, 12 hours ago
Has it got a best before date?
PirateLogic, Manchester, United Kingdom, 14 hours ago
Elixir for immortality found in a burial tomb. Sounds like it worked lol
Nusha, albany, United States, 14 hours ago
All I want to know is whether someone tasted it.
Mack, London, United Kingdom, 15 hours ago
"It is unclear whether the family ever consumed the elixir of immortality" Actually it is.
Ab Norm Al, Age of Political Ignorance, United Kingdom, 16 hours ago
Reverse chemical engineering and it's coming to the UK later this year from Poundland!
Podolskinator, Bristol, United Kingdom, 16 hours ago
It did quite the opposite it turns out. Mercury and humans don¿t mix
fount-of-all-wisdom, luton, United Kingdom, 18 hours ago
"The remains of the tomb's occupant have also been preserved." They should take DNA samples like we did for RichardIII.Someone in China might have a famous relative.
Lady Atherton, Dallas Texas, United States, 18 hours ago
Let me guess! They all died.
michaelmobius, london, United Kingdom, 18 hours ago
yes millenials, those round things in the tomb are compact discs, a truly ancient technology from a mysterious forgotten civilization
Vox Ratio, Edinburgh, United Kingdom, 19 hours ago
Elixir of immortality in a grave. The irony.
fredsinbed, Burton upon Trent, United Kingdom, 19 hours ago
Is the person that made it still knocking about?
Gerry Smith, London, United Kingdom, 21 hours ago
I'm guessing it didn't work.
Tupperware pie, Richmond, United States, 21 hours ago
smalltown74, smalltown , Germany, 22 hours ago
Eternal life- the dream dreamt by all cultures and civilizations throughout history.
wendyM, glasgow, United Kingdom, 22 hours ago
does it work?
ebbot, vtuna, Sweden, 21 hours ago
Not for the bloke in the grave anyway.
Saryne, Hereford, 23 hours ago
You'd have thought the Emperors would have had food tasters to test the elixir first.
Kinetic, Melbourne, Australia, 23 hours ago
Cor, can't wait to die trying this magical elixir. At least my kids will have a nice urn to put my ashes in.
MarkOne, Jarrow, 23 hours ago
Stupid rich people using the money they have got from oppressing the poor to waste it on rubbish like that.
Kaziklu Bey, ebbw vale, United Kingdom, 24 hours ago
It was found in a grave so I don't think it works very well
payasoman, wales, United Kingdom, 1 day ago
Water is elixir of life.
Eleanor, Pontivy, France, 1 day ago
That's a good one, Drink it and die.
tiberiuspatriot, homeland, United States, 1 day ago
Like those life extension pills on Amazon!
mlswr, Mid North Coast, Australia, 1 day ago
Was it passed it's use by date ;)
Marz09, Gtown, United States, 1 day ago
It turns out it was just soy sauce.
Caligurrl, Los Angeles, United States, 1 day ago
I have a hard time believing a liquid was still in the container after 2000 years.
Russell342, Heart Of America, United States, 1 day ago
The elixir didn't provide immortality, but did pickle their innards which caused them to feel NO PAIN!
wadwizard, MadTown, United States, 1 day ago
How ironic that the "elixer of everlasting life" was found in a tomb.