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Showing posts from June, 2016

Mijiaya, or Going Retro

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On the outskirts of Xi'an, the Chan River flows.  It eventually meets the Wei River, which flows into the Yellow river.  On a dusty terrace above the river is a site called Mijiaya, where excavations in the 2000s uncovered pottery dating from 3400 BCE to 2000 BCE.

Some of the earliest potter, from 3400 BCE to 2900 BCE, the late Yangshao period, includes parts of an amphora, an urn and a funnel.  This May, some archaeologists at Stanford published an analysis of residue on the pottery: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2016/05/18/1601465113

It's malted barley, along with millet, something called Job's tears, and some other starches.

I think this is awesome!  We know that alcohol production in China predates writing.  The Records of the Grand Historian (史記) from 50 BCE discusses King Zhou, the last king of the Shang dynasty, who reigned 1075–1046 BCE:
[He] made a pond of wine, hung the trees with meat, made men and women chase each other about quite naked, and had drinking bo…