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House-shaped Han Dynasty grain vessel full of millet discovered in Shaanxi Province
Published: Apr 20, 2021 06:38 PM
The house-shaped vessel that contains millet. Photo: Shaanxi News on Sina Weibo

The house-shaped vessel that contains millet. Photo: Shaanxi News on Sina Weibo

Millet congealed together Photo: Shaanxi News on Sina Weibo

Millet congealed together Photo: Shaanxi News on Sina Weibo

A house-shaped vessel that was once used for storing grains during China's Han Dynasty (206BC-AD220) was recently unearthed from a well-preserved tomb in Qinhan New City, Xixian New Area, Northwest China's Shaanxi Province. Upon opening the vessel, archaeologists were stunned by the fact that it was still completely filled with 2,000-year-old grains. 

Despite the fact that the grains in the container had congealed together, researchers were still able to identify it as millet, one of the most common staple foods in northern China. 

"Geographically speaking, millet has always been significantly consumed as a staple food by people in the north, wheat too. Likewise, people in the southern area of China make rice dishes. This discovery shows that millet has been a choice for people in the regions from ancient times till now," Xu, an archaeological expert told the Global Times, on Tuesday. 

The pottery vessel is approximately 1 meter wide and 80 centimeters in height. It is huge compared to other grain vessels that have been discovered. 

"The standard Han Dynasty pottery vessels that have been discovered are about a quarter of the size of this one," Tian, a botanical archaeologist in China's Northwest University, told media. 

The new discovery increased netizens' "appetite" for discussion of ancient food on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo.

Some made cheeky comments saying they had utensils ready to give the 2,000-year-old millet a go. Others were simply impressed by the "prosperity" of relics in Shaanxi, a Chinese province rich in history. 

"Isn't it too frequent to find new stuff precious as such? I remember the mirror news was just a week ago," said a netizen to refer to finely restored mirrors that still appeared to be bright and very reflective after 2,000 years, which have also recently been discovered in Shaanxi Province.  

Along with the newly discovered millet vessel, more than 100 relics have had been unearthed in the tomb, including precious gold and jade wares. 

"Seeing such a large amount of food provides us with a clue for the further study of agricultural development of that time," Xu told the Global Times on Tuesday. 


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