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Technology helps solve mystery of ancient eye-shaped glass beads

16 January 2020 22:12

SHENYANG. KAZINFORM Thanks to modern technology, Chinese researchers have solved the mystery of seven eye-shaped glass beads found in a tomb dating back to the Warring States Period (475-221 B.C.)

Scientists from the institute of cultural relics and archaeology in northeast China's Liaoning Province have used technologies including X-ray fluorescence and scanning electron microscopy to study the rare beads, which look like the compound eyes of a dragonfly, Xinhua reports.

The seven rare beads were discovered in a tomb dating back to the Warring States period in a village in the city of Huludao, Liaoning, in 2003. The largest bead measures 1.78 cm in external diameter.

Bai Yimeng, an associate researcher with the institute, said they can provide scientific evidence for the composition, age, origin and manufacturing craftsmanship of ancient glasses based on advanced technologies.

The analysis showed that the rare beads were imported from the West. They were made of two types of glass, one from ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia in the Late Bronze Age, while the other is from the coast of the eastern Mediterranean.

Bai said the discovery shows evidence of early economic and cultural exchange between China and the West.

The earliest known eye-shaped bead was made between 1,550 B.C. and 1,307 B.C. in ancient Egypt. The beads and manufacturing techniques emerged in China from the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 B.C.) and have been mostly discovered in royal tombs.