Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Chinese Uncover Ancient Paper

Archaeologists working in China have discovered a very early scrap of paper, according to news reports. The ten-square centimeter section of paper (made from linen fibers) was discovered during the renovation of an early military garrison in the Yumen Pass, Gansu province. It dates to 8 BCE, furthering China's claim to primacy over the development of paper. Legend puts the creation of paper at 105 CE by courtier T'sai (or Cai) Lun, but archaeological evidence has pushed the date much further back.

Fu Licheng, described as the curator of the nearby Dunhuang Museum, told reporters that more than twenty Chinese characters written on the paper had been deciphered, but that the passage's meaning was unclear. My guess? Grocery list.