Rare ‘biological’ armor ‘looks like fish scales’ discovered in 2,500-year-old tomb in China

Researchers have unearthed a 2,500-year-old ‘biological’ military suit in northwest China, a new study finds.

The suit of armor buried with a man was discovered at Yanghai cemetery – an archaeological site near the city of Turfan close to the Taklamakan desert.

A team of archaeologists unearthed an ancient armor


A team of archaeologists unearthed an ancient armor

The man is believed to have died around the age of 30 and was also found buried with pottery, two pieces of horse cheek and the skull of a sheep.

Mayke Wagner, co-researcher, said the suit was made of 5,444 small cowhide scales and 140 larger scales that were “arranged in horizontal rows and connected by leather cords passing through the incisions”.

Because of its scale-like design, the researchers call it an early example of “bionics,” which is when humans draw inspiration for human technology from nature.

Wagner notes that it was likely designed that way to “strengthen human skin for better protection against blows, stabs, and shots.”

The military uniform, which is said to weigh around 11 pounds, is built to resemble a modern-day waistcoat and is light enough to be put on easily without the help of a second person.

Lead researcher Patrick Wertmann, a researcher at the Institute of Oriental and Asian Studies at the University of Zurich, said: “This is a lightweight, all-size, highly effective defensive garment for soldiers. soldiers of the mass army.

Although Wagner called the discovery a “huge surprise,” he said that initially, “a bunch of dusty skin [in the burial] … Not attracting much attention in the archaeological world. “

However, after discovering a plant thorn in the suit, the team was able to determine a radiocarbon age from 786 BC to 543 BC for the suit, which is even earlier than the fish-like armor. worn by the Persians.

“There is no other type of scale armor from this or earlier period in China,” Wagner said. “In eastern China, fragments of armor have been found, but of a different shape,” Wagner said. .

Well-preserved leather-scale armors from the ancient world are generally rare, and the only other garment of known origin is from the ancient Egyptian tomb of King Tutankhamun (from the 20th century AD). 14 BC).

The ancient cemetery where Chinese armor was found was discovered by local villagers in the early 1970s.

Since 2003, archaeologists have excavated more than 500 graves there.

The oldest suit of armor discovered in China


The oldest suit of armor discovered in ChinaSource: Dongliang Xu / Turfan Museum
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https://www.thesun.co.uk/tech/17315097/bionic-armor-fish-scales-china/ Rare ‘biological’ armor ‘looks like fish scales’ discovered in 2,500-year-old tomb in China

Caroline Bleakley

Caroline Bleakley is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Caroline Bleakley joined USTimeToday in 2022 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with Caroline Bleakley by emailing carolinebleakley@ustimetoday.com.

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