Archaeologists discover wine cellar that dates back nearly four millennia
Found near ancient banquet hall, wine stash equivalent to 3,000 bottles.
Researchers from the United States and Israel joined recently to unearth an incredibly old wine cellar.
The ancient wine was discovered in November at the 75-acre Tel Kabri site, a ruin in Northern Israel. Led by Eric H. Cline of George Washington University and Assaf Yasur-Landau of the University of Haifa, the team found a three-foot-long jar they soon dubbed "Bessie." The jar appears to date back to approximately 1700 B.C.
“We dug and dug, and all of a sudden, Bessie’s friends started appearing,” Cline, chair of GW’s Department of Classical and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations within the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, said in a statement. Eventually 40 jars in all were found in a 15-by-25-foot storage room.
“This is a hugely significant discovery," said Cline. "It’s a wine cellar that, to our knowledge, is largely unmatched in its age and size.”
The cellar could hold approximately 2,000 liters (nearly 3,000 bottles of red or white wine these days).
“The wine cellar was located near a hall where banquets took place, a place where the Kabri elite and possibly foreign guests consumed goat meat and wine,” said Yasur-Landau, chair of the Department of Maritime Civilizations at the University of Haifa.
The discovery sparked international interest and has made the team even more eager to get back out there and keep digging. They've already found two doors leading out of the wine cellar that they suspect lead to even more storage rooms. Another dig is scheduled for 2015.
The wine in the jars is long gone, which may be for the best. They say wine gets better with age, but we can't imagine how wine this old would taste.
So how ancient is the wine cellar exactly?
It's 367 years older than King Tut (b. 1341 B.C.)
Tutankhamun's magnificent golden death mask at the Tutankhamun exhibition in Geneva, Switzerland, in 2013. (Photo: mountainpix/Shutterstock)
And 1,262 years older than the Parthenon.
And 1,494 years older than the Great Wall of China.
And 1,770 years older than the Roman Colosseum.
And 3,476 years older than the United States of America.
But, not quite as old as the pyramids.
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Related Topics: Archaeology