2,000-year-old bottle of wine found in tomb

WINE may improve with age, but archaeologists digging in an ancient tomb in western China have discovered the world’s oldest bottle.

The 2,000-year-old rice wine was unearthed in a large bronze jar, shaped like a phoenix head, in a tomb in the city of Xi’an.

Several drinking vessels, along with bronze bells, more than 100 jade pieces and part of a human skull were also found, which archaeologists say belonged to a member of the area’s nobility.

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Almost 1.3 gallons of clear blue-tinged alcohol was found, enough to allow researchers their best opportunity yet to study ancient distilling techniques. Wine from the period has been found in other tombs but this is the best-preserved and the largest quantity ever discovered.

Master of Wine Anthony Hanson, senior consultant to Christie’s international wine department, said: "This is a fantastic find, a piece of history and a real curiosity. But I have no idea what it could fetch at sale - if the analysis shows that it is a wine it could well break the world record."

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