Advanced Stone-Polishing Techniques Employed Earlier Than Thought

Diamond-polished corundum axe from the Neolithic Liangzhu culture of ancient China, ca. 2500 B.C. i i

hide captionDiamond-polished corundum axe from the Neolithic Liangzhu culture of ancient China, ca. 2500 B.C.

Peter J. Lu
Diamond-polished corundum axe from the Neolithic Liangzhu culture of ancient China, ca. 2500 B.C.

Diamond-polished corundum axe from the Neolithic Liangzhu culture of ancient China, ca. 2500 B.C.

Peter J. Lu

Chinese craftsmen used diamonds and sapphire to polish tools thousands of years earlier than previously believed, according to new research findings. Robert Siegel talks with Peter Lu, a physics graduate student at Harvard, who applied advanced material science microscopes and tools to ancient Chinese artifacts.

Lu says the finding rewrites ancient Chinese history "from a technological standpoint."

"Somehow, in the Stone Ageā€¦ they were able to sort particles that were less than a millionth of a meter across," he says.

Lu's findings were published in the journal Archaeometry.

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