2,400 Year Old Tea Residue Found in China

Archaeologists recently found the charred remains of an ancient tea bowl from a Warring State period tomb, which was located in the ancient city of the Zhu Kingdom, China.

“China is the first country in the world to discover and cultivate tea,” – According to Professor Shuya Wei and her colleagues from the Institute of Cultural Heritage and History of Science & Technology at the University of Science and Technology Beijing.

They go on to state:

“In Chinese legend, tea was first discovered as an antidote by Emperor Shen Nung in 2737 BCE, according to the first monograph on Chinese herbal medicine Shennong’s Classic of Materia Medica.”

“The first mention of tea planting is believed to occur in the Xiaxiaozheng, a Chinese earliest almanac recording traditional agricultural affairs, probably written in the Warring States period (475-221 BCE).”

“According to the literature, in the Spring and Autumn period (770-476 BCE), tea had been used as a sacrifice and vegetable, in the Warring States period and the early Western Han dynasty, tea cultivation, tea making techniques and tea drinking custom in Sichuan province began to spread to other places.”

“As archaeological plant leaves remains have been buried for many years, most of them have rotted or charred, it is difficult to find archaeological plant leaves remains in archeological excavation,” explained the researchers.

“Recently, 2,400-year-old charred tea remains were found in a bowl unearthed from tomb No. 1 at Xigang in the ancient capital city site of the Zhu Kingdom in Zoucheng city, Shandong province.”

“If the remains could be determined as tea, that would be the direct evidence for tea drinking in the ancient time.”

“Since ancient times, the Chinese people have always had the habit of drinking tea, but there is no physical evidence to prove when tea actually appeared, until the discovery of tea in the Han Yangling Mausoleum, which proved that Chinese tea has a history of at least 2,150 years, which has earned recognition from Guinness World Records as the oldest tea in 2016,” said the scientists.

“The identification of the tea remains in Zoucheng — the early stage of Warring States, approximately 2,400 years ago — has advanced the origin of tea by nearly 300 years.”

“Our results indicate that tea drinking culture may start as early as in Warring State period.”

The findings of their research was published in journal Scientific Reports.

Travis Joynson

Travis Joynson

Travis Joynson is the founder and chief editor of the Professional Tea Taster.

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