Archaeology Magazine

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Ancient Wine Cellar Unearthed in Israel

Friday, November 22, 2013

(Eric H. Cline, The George Washington University)BALTIMORE, MARYLAND—At the annual meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research, Eric Cline of The George Washington University, Assaf Yasur-Landau of the University of Haifa, and Andrew Koh of Brandeis University announced their discovery of the oldest known wine cellar in the Middle East. The palace storage room at Israel’s site of Tel Kabri contained at least 40 of the 3,700-year-old vessels of wine, or about 500 gallons worth. Chemical analysis of residues samples taken from the all of the pots show that the wine had been preserved with resin and flavored with juniper, mint, myrtle, honey, and cinnamon. “If you take retsina and you pour a bit of cough syrup inside, I guess you get something quite similar,” said Yasur-Landau. The Canaanite palace was destroyed, possibly by an earthquake, around 1600 B.C.