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Mysterious ingredient in ancient bronzeware recipe deciphered by researchers

(CNN)Analysis of 2,300-year-old texts and coins helps researchers decipher ancient recipe for bronze is ready. Linguistically elusive ingredients.

The oldest known technical encyclopedia, the Gao Gong Ji, was written around 300 BC and is part of a larger text called the Rites of Zhou. An ancient text contains six chemical formulas for mixing bronze, listing items such as swords, bells, axes, knives, and mirrors and how to make them. For 100 years, researchers have struggled to translate two of the main ingredients, ``jin'' and ``xi''. Experts believed that these words translate to copper and tin, key elements in the bronze-making process. did not match the composition of the artifacts of

Two researchers now believe they have pinpointed the true meaning behind the mystery ingredient. The journal Antiquity released its findings on Tuesday.

This revelation deepened our understanding of the production of bronze in antiquity, and in the High Duke he said, Given that large-scale bronze production took place long before the six recipes were shared , which raises new questions about when this process began. said co-author Ruiliang Liu, curator of the early Chinese collection at the British Museum in London.

In modern Chinese, jin means gold. However, the ancient meaning of the word could be copper, a copper alloy, or just a metal, which made it difficult to pinpoint specific ingredients. , was used in Eurasia's largest bronze industry during this period," Liu said in a statement. "Attempts to reconstruct these processes have been unsuccessful for over 100 years."

Chemical Analysis

Liu and Lead study author Mark Pollard analyzed the chemical composition of Chinese coins minted around the time Kao Gong Ji was written. Pollard is the Edward Hall Professor of Archeology at the University of Oxford and Director of the Institute for Archeology and Art History.

Previously, researchers believed that the coins were made by diluting copper with tin and lead. were shown to be the result of mixing two metal alloys, one made of copper, tin, and lead, the other made of copper and lead.

Two researchers concluded that jin and xi are likely mixed metal alloys.

"For the first time in more than 100 years of research, a viable explanation of how to interpret the recipe for making early Chinese bronze objects given in ,” said Pollard. in a statement.

This finding indicates that bronze production in ancient China relied on combinations of alloys rather than pure metals, and that metalworking is more complex than previously thought. increase.

"This marks an additional step in the manufacturing process of early Chinese copper alloy products: the production of pre-prepared alloys," he said. "This represents a previously unknown additional layer in the metal production and supply network in China."

Archaeologically, without chemical analysis, this The additional steps would have remained invisible, the researchers said.

"Understanding alloying practices is critical to understanding elaborate bronze ceremonial vessels and the underlying mass production in Shang and Zhou societies," Liu said. .

Using this kind of analysis could help researchers decipher other texts on ancient metallurgy from different cultures and regions in the future, the researchers said. .