Chinese archeologists excavated two ancient smoke-absorbing bronze lamps that are believed to be about 2,000 years old. Experts said the artifacts may have been the world's first eco-friendly lamps.

Archaeologists Discover 2,000-Year-Old Smoke Absorbing Lamps in Chinese Tomb

(Read the article on one page)

Archaeologists in China have made a unique discovery in a cemetery dating to the Western Han Dynasty (221 – 206 BC) – two bronze lamps that could ‘swallow’ smoke.  Historians are hailing the discovery as the world’s first known ‘eco-friendly’ lamps.

“The lamps are both the shape of a goose catching a fish in its mouth. The light is attached to the fish. Smoke emitted during the burning of wax can enter the bird's body via an intake on the fish, travel through its neck and be dissolved by water stored in its hollow belly”, Xin Lixiang, who leads the excavation team, told Xinhua news agency .

While the Han Dynasty saw the increased production of Chinese bronze lamps, these are the first known smoke-absorbing designs, and most likely they belonged to elite members of society.

Lixiang told Xinhua news agency that the brightness of the lamp could be adjusted via swinging shades, and the components could be dismantled for cleaning.

"It is both an artwork and an example of ancient innovation," said Lixiang [via Xinhua].

The ancient eco-lamps were discovered in a tomb in Haihunhou cemetery near Nanchang in Jiangxi Province, which has been hailed as the most complete Western Han Dynasty cemetery ever discovered in China, covering more than 40,000 square meters of land and containing eight tombs. 

The tomb is believed to have belonged to Liu He, the grandson of Emperor Wu, considered the foremost ruler of the Han Dynasy. Liu He served as emperor in 74 BC for just 27 days before he was dethroned by the royal clan for apparently having loose morals and no talent.

A cave in Mogao shows a Western Han Dynasty cave mural of Emperor Wu, the greatest Han monarch during a prosperous era, worshiping Buddhas. His grandson Liu He was not so illustrious but was given a grand burial anyway.

A cave in Mogao shows a Western Han Dynasty cave mural of Emperor Wu, the greatest Han monarch during a prosperous era, worshiping Buddhas. His grandson Liu He was not so illustrious but was given a grand burial anyway. ( Wikimedia Commons )
 

Thousands of other treasures have been found within the cemetery, including more than 10,000 gold, bronze and iron artifacts, wooden tablets, bamboo slips, jade relics, musical instruments, 10 tons of bronze coins, and a burial site for horses with their chariots.

Archaeologists found 10 tons of bronze coins in and around the tomb of a dethroned Chinese emperor of the first century BC.

Archaeologists found 10 tons of bronze coins in and around the tomb of a dethroned Chinese emperor of the first century BC. (Xinhua news photo)

Excavations at the site first began in 2011 and are still ongoing. The bronze lamps were unearthed in a recent dig at the cemetery just 2 months ago. Archaeologists believe there is still many artifacts yet to be unearthed.

Featured image: Chinese archeologists excavated two ancient smoke-absorbing bronze lamps that are believed to be about 2,000 years old. Experts said the artifacts may have been the world's first eco-friendly lamps. (Photo : Xinhua/Wan Xiang via Chinanews.

By April Holloway

Comments

You misspelled the word "morals".

ancient-origins's picture

Many thanks, we have fixed the typo.

 

:)

Register to become part of our active community, get updates, receive a monthly newsletter, and enjoy the benefits and rewards of our member point system OR just post your comment below as a Guest.

Myths & Legends

The ride to Asgard" by Peter Nicolai Arbo. 1872.
In the beginning there were only native forests and wasteland. The Aesirs, one main group of Norse gods, cleared places to stay, both for themselves and the humans. They named the human’s home Midgard – because it is placed in the middle of the world. And in the middle of Midgard

Ancient Technology

The Ancient Invention of the Water Clock
Today, the ability to keep track of time seems to be taken for granted. One just simply needs to glance at a watch, clock, or mobile phone to know the exact time, even down to the nearest second...

Our Mission

At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

Ancient Image Galleries

View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Next article