Thanks to scientific advances, archaeologists can now interpret their findings with greater precision. Recently, a bowl containing charred tea residue was found by a team. The bowl and its contents were found in a tomb dating back to the War of the States period. The vault was located in the heart of the old capital of the kingdom of Zhu, in China.
For Professor Shuya Wei and his colleagues, China has been the first country to have discovered and cultivated tea. Their study was based on the first Chinese herbal medicine monograph titled Shennong’s Classic of Materia Medica. She revealed that the discovery of tea as an antidote was made by Emperor Shen Nung in 2737 BC.
Also, it would appear that the first tea plantation name is inscribed in the Xiaxiaozheng. This is the oldest Chinese almanac listing traditional agricultural activities dating from the start of the War of the States.
A culture that has stood the test of time
During the period of spring and autumn (770-476 BC), the literature reveals much about the use of tea in the Middle Kingdom. He was used for sacrifices and as a vegetable during the War of the States and the early days of the Western Han.
This civilization thus practiced the plantation of tea for several purposes and had already apprehended various methods of production. In addition, consumption habits for this foodstuff in Sichuan province have changed. spread to other regions.
Similarities to modern tea
The researchers explained the charred state of plant leaf residues is due to their burial which lasted for several years. This resulted in the decomposition of these leaves and their carbonization.
Professor Wei and his collaborators carried out a study on a sample taken from the tomb dating from the War of the States. To this end, they used the technique of Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). For the analysis, the researchers used modern tea and modern tea residue.
It emerged that the sample contained a large amount of phytoliths in calcium similar to tea. Its FTIR spectral characteristics correspond to those of modern tea residues. In addition, caffeine, methoxybenzene substances, organic acids and many other substances have been detected there. All of these substances have been found both in the old tea sample and in the modern tea residue.