Archaeologists in NW China unearth 2,000-year old "icebox"

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New Delhi, May 27 (ANI): Archaeologists in northwest China's Shaanxi province have revealed that they have found a primitive "icebox" dating back at least 2,000 years in the ruins of an emperor's residence.

Tian Yaqi, a researcher with the Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology said on May 26, that the "icebox", unearthed in Qianyang county, contained several clay rings 1.1 meters in diameter and 0.33 meters tall, reports Xinhua.

"The loops were put together to form a shaft about 1.6 meters tall," Tian said.

The shaft was unearthed about 3 meters underground within the ruins of an ancient building which experts believed was a temporary imperial residence during the Qin Dynasty (221 - 207 BC).

"The shaft led to a river valley, but it could not have been a well," Tian revealed.

"Nor would it have been possible to build a well inside the house," he said.

Tian and his colleagues believe the shaft was an ice cellar, known in ancient China as "ling yin", a cool place to store food during the summer.

"If ice cellars were popular more than 2,000 years ago, it certainly sounds reasonable that the emperor and court officials would have one in their residence," Tian added.

Covering an area of about 22,000 square meters, the shaft and the residence were first discovered by villagers building homes in 2006.

Authorities immediately fenced off the area to protect the heritage site, and research work began in March this year and ended last week. (ANI)

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