XI'AN, March 18 (Xinhua) -- Chinese archeologists have found remnants of tea leaves in tea sets unearthed from the family graveyard of the country's first known anthropologist, a man who lived 900 years ago.
The finding challenge the traditional theory that infused tea became popular only in modern times, said Zhang Yun, a researcher with Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archeology.
Pieces of green tea were found in a dozen bronze, porcelain and stone tea sets unearthed from a cluster of 29 tombs in Lantian County, he said.
Zhang led the excavations that lasted from December 2007 to December 2009, which produced a variety of sacrificial objects.
"In one of the tea sets, which contained a bronze cup and a filler that filters tea, we found about 20 pieces of remnants of tea leaves," said Zhang. "The tea leaf remains green, a sign that it was infused instead of boiled before it was served."
The archeologists also found stone kettles next to the tea sets. "These, too, were common kitchen utensils because water boiled in stone kettles was considered tasteless and therefore ideal for preserving the fragrance of the tea."