Skip to comments.The Nanjing Belt [ 5th c aluminum artifact ]
Posted on 07/11/2011 8:15:58 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
The Nanjing Belt was discovered in a tomb in 1952 around a skeleton. The tomb and the body dated to the Jin Dynasty that brings us back to the early centuries A.D (265-420) and luckily the name of the occupant was established through an inscription. He was one Zhou Chou (obit 297) who died fighting, of all people, the Tibetans.
So far so easy: belts and even britches are common in graves around the world from the mysterious dragon buckles of Late Roman mercenaries to the ceremonial belts of the Lords of the Maya. In fact, the problems only really began when the boffins got the belt off Zhou and back into a laboratory.
The belt included 'about' (?) twenty pieces of metal -- which had presumably been attached to the now rotted leather -- and four of these were made of almost pure aluminium. Aluminium it will be remembered does not appear alone in nature. It took Europeans till the early nineteenth century to understand how to isolate this useful substance and even then the aluminium that issued was far from pure.
Chinese historians were, understandably, bemused and something of a civil war broke out, not helped by the fact that the Cultural Revolution was on the horizon. If there was a resolution though before Mao's guillotine came down it was that four pieces were, indeed, aluminium. The problem then was not metallurgical but rather archaeological: were they Jin Dynasty or had they been placed in the tomb in the nineteenth or twentieth centuries?
(Excerpt) Read more at strangehistory.net ...
The Nanjing belt. The discovery of aluminium amongst the fragments suggested that the Chinese isolated the metal at least 1,500 years before western scientists.
The knowledge of concrete vanished for centuries after the fall of the Roman Empire too
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I vote for them being cheap, Chinese knock-offs.
Before the Haber process works, you are going to need one HECK of a campfire...
Very interesting. The pyramid peak of the Empire State building is aluminum - because at the time, aluminum was more valuable than gold.
Can we duplicate roman concrete even now? Last I heard, it was a matter of debate. But I also remember reading, that the addition of volcanic ash strengthens the concrete immensely, and increases its usefule life by some large factor - so perhaps it has been done.
...and that gets me wondering how Roman concrete was invented. I am picturing some government contractor short on his delivery order - “Well, mix some of this dang ash in it. We got enough of that lying around, what with Vesuvius and all...”
The Romans got the tech from the Egyptians, though it was a protected secret of the ‘priestly class’. ... just sayin’
The recipe of “Greek Fire” which kept the Ottomans out of Constantinople for centuries, is still not known.
The Egyptians knew some surprising things - like how to electroplate gold onto lead. No idea how that gor invented, but I can surmise that a government contractor came up with it.
They are very hard; very strong; very stable; very sharp ~ you must wear heavy gloves to handle them.
I think the only mortar for which the recipe was lost during the Early Middle Ages was that for hydraulic or marine cement. It sets up under water.
Every now and then you'll see this on DISCOVER where they're looking over an old fortress or castle in Europe and they mention that the mortar seams are almost invisible.
You may really be thinking of the Washington Monument.
I think you mean the Washington Monument (1884) - there was an article about it awhile back here on FR.
While you are correct, a combination of crude oil (found in surface ponds in the area) and phospherous fits the bill. Boil in a brass kettle until pressurized, pop the cork, and ignite the vapors.
Better yet, have a galley slave do that last part.
The chinese culture — easily the most stagnant culture ever by and order of magnitude. They were the first to develop the butt pick 3000 years ago, and here they are still picking their butts.
One possibility not mentioned is that the second century Chinese had a method for isolating Aluminum lost to time and not yet rediscovered.
Look how long metallurgist have been trying to rediscover how to make Damascus steel.
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