Subscribe to Archaeology

White Lead Identified in 2,500-Year-Old Containers in China

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

SHAANXI PROVINCE, CHINA—According to a NextShark report, researchers from the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Shaanxi Academy of Archaeology have identified synthesized white lead in bronze containers discovered at the Liangdaicun site in northwestern China. The bronze containers were recovered from the tomb of an aristocrat in a cemetery dated to between 770 and 476 B.C. The scientists analyzed the white substance with Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), X-ray powder diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy-energy dispersive spectroscopy (SEM-EDS), and radioactive and stable carbon isotope analyses. The tests also revealed that the substance, which may have been used as a cosmetic, was precipitated out of a solution—a process distinct from the one used in Greece in the fourth century B.C. White lead synthesis is therefore likely to have developed independently in each place, the researchers explained. Read the original scholarly article about this research in Humanities & Social Sciences Communications. To read about 2,000-year-old bronze Buddha statues unearthed in central China, go to "Made in China."

Advertisement

Advertisement


Advertisement