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Jades analysis indicates lively ancient sea trade

10 December, 2007 (05:00) | ancient, ceramics/metal/stone, china, southeast asia | By: xensen

ancient feng tian jade

A Reuters story by Tan Ee Lyn reports on an article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. According to the report, an international team of scientists performed X-ray spectrometer analysis of 144 jade ornaments in museums in southeast Asia. The jades were thought to date from 3000 BCE to 500 CE. The analysis determined that at least 116 of the jades were made from stone that originated in Fengtian in eastern Taiwan. Fengtian jade is typically a translucent green mottled with dark spots.

The article quotes lead researcher Hung Hsiao-chun, who noted that one of the Fengtian jades found in the Philippines dates to 2000 BCE:

There was a very huge workshop in Fengtian, dating back to 3,000 BC. Before, researchers thought all the jade in the Philippines was from China or Vietnam. With our analysis … we found that most of the ornamental jade in the Philippines was from Taiwan…. Their seafaring methods must have been very superior, even back then.

Shown is an ancient Fengtian nephrite earring unearthed in the Philippines. The image is from ABC News in Science, where the source is listed as PNAS/Yoshiyuki Iizuka.