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2,000-year-old “icebox” found in China

A 2,000-year-old ice cellar, used to keep food cool, has been found in Northwest China.

The cylindrical icebox of 1.1-meter diameter and 0.33-meter height was excavated in Qianyang County, Tian Yaqi, a researcher with the Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology, said. The box also contains several clay rings.

“The loops were put together to form a shaft of about 1.6 meters tall,” Tina was quoted today by the state news agency.

The shaft was found three meters from the surface in the ruins of an ancient building, which experts believed was a temporary imperial residence during the Win Dynasty (221 – 207 BC).

“The shaft led to a river valley, but it could not have been a well,” Tina said.

The researcher said that it can not be a well because the underground water level is much deeper than just three meters in the arid northwest China.

“Nor would it have been possible to build a well inside the house,” the researcher said.

Tina 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.

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