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Science

Scientists Uncover 3,700-Year-Old Wine Cellar 122

Posted by samzenpus
from the break-out-the-good-stuff dept.
Taco Cowboy writes in with a link about the remnants of some well-aged wine recently uncovered in Israel. "Scientists have uncovered a 3,700-year-old wine cellar in the ruins of a Canaanite palace in Israel, chemical analysis from the samples from the ceramic jars suggest they held a luxurious beverage that was evidently reserved for banquets. The good stuff contains a blend of ingredients that may have included honey, mint, cedar, tree resins and cinnamon bark. The discovery confirms how sophisticated wines were at that time, something suggested only by ancient texts. The wine cellar was found this summer in palace ruins near the modern town of Nahariya in northern Israel. Researchers found 40 ceramic jars, each big enough to hold about 13 gallons, in a single room. There may be more wine stored elsewhere, but the amount found so far wouldn't be enough to supply the local population, which is why the researchers believe it was reserved for palace use. The unmarked jars are all similar as if made by the same potter. Chemical analysis indicates that the jars held red wine and possibly white wine. There was no liquid left; analyses were done on residues removed from the jars. An expert in ancient winemaking said the discovery 'sheds important new light' on the development of winemaking in ancient Canaan, from which it later spread to Egypt and across the Mediterranean."
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Scientists Uncover 3,700-Year-Old Wine Cellar

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  • by DavidClarkeHR (2769805) <(ac.tsilarenegrh) (ta) (ekralc.divad)> on Sunday December 08, 2013 @05:17PM (#45634751)
    Shortly after discovering a 3,700 year old wine cellar, scientists declare:
    Ish totally ... not *hic* full of ... wine ... s'all empties, i sh-wear.
  • by Nimey (114278) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @05:19PM (#45634763) Homepage Journal

    It's been a couple weeks now since this was news on mainstream websites - the linked story is even from the 22nd of November. What's the point of posting it now?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      False. The only news on November 22 was the 50 year anniversary of JFK's assassination.

      Source: I happened to have checked the media that day.

    • by spmkk (528421) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @05:29PM (#45634813)

      What's the point of posting it now?

      So that those of us who go to "mainstream" websites for geopolitical news rather than scouring them for science/tech developments, and therefore might have missed this (as I did), can learn about it?

      • by Nimey (114278)

        This isn't science/tech, really, it's of archaeological interest.

        I'm 99% certain I found out about it first from one of the sites Google News aggregates; maybe you'll get good results if you have it show you lots of science/world/whatever stories.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Archaeology is....a science!

    • by cyfer2000 (548592)
      Oh the night that Paddy Murphy died, is a night I'll never forget. Some of the boys got loaded drunk, and they ain't got sober yet... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fO7cd8uXVRQ [youtube.com]
    • by nospam007 (722110) *

      "It's been a couple weeks now since this was news on mainstream websites - the linked story is even from the 22nd of November. What's the point of posting it now?"

      The wine cellar is now 3700 years and 2 weeks old.

    • And when I read it on the Register [theregister.co.uk] I was told that it was "psychotropic."

      The wine was flavoured with honey, mint, cinnamon bark, juniper berries and even mysterious "psychotropic resins", which might explain why people in the biblical era spent so much time spouting prophesies and wearing technicolor dreamcoats.

      an interpretation which was omitted from the other news accounts.

      Well? will this wine help you see things you wouldn't believe? Or is the Register seeing things that its readers shouldn't believe?

      • by peragrin (659227)

        The register is well known for making shit up for fun. they are far more subtle at it compared to the onion but truthful journalism they are not.

        of course if you want truthful journalism you can't listen to anybody in the USA, or most of the other worlds major news companies.

    • by Chris Mattern (191822) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @07:27PM (#45635405)

      It's 3700 years old. What difference does two weeks make, fer cryin' out loud?

      • by drkim (1559875)

        It's 3700 years old. What difference does two weeks make, fer cryin' out loud?

        Its bouquet won't be fully developed for another year.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It'll be even better news in a few years.

  • those ingredients (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FudRucker (866063) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @05:42PM (#45634865)
    cedar, cinnamon bark, honey, etc...

    sounded like the ancient relatives of whoever invented Jaegarmeister http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J%C3%A4germeister [wikipedia.org]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 08, 2013 @05:44PM (#45634877)

    An expert in ancient winemaking said the discovery 'sheds important new light' on the development of winemaking in ancient Canaan, from which it later spread to Egypt and across the Mediterranean."

    Wine (drinking and making) was common in Greece before any Canaanite had heard that such drink even existed - and it was common for Greeks to trade their wine across the Mediterranean.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Suiggy (1544213)

      Oy vey, this is anti-semitic.Don't you goyim know that the civilization of Judea was far superior to Greece? There's a reason the word "Hell" was chosen to signify the degeneracy and barbarism found in Hellinistic Greece.

    • by Dahamma (304068) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @06:09PM (#45634965)

      Grapes were first domesticated and wine first produced in the Near East (modern day Syria, Israel, Turkey, Iran etc) and the Caucasus. Just as the article said, it later spread to Egypt and across the Mediterranean into Greece.

      Though 3700 years ago (aka 1700 BCE) isn't very far back in terms of these ancient civilizations (just in terms of Greek Civilization, maybe). The Near East had been making wine for thousands of years before that.

      • The evidence goes a whole lot further back than a few thousand years ago -- just from a glance at Wikipedia's limited information, the earliest shards of pottery stained with wine were (using modern names, as my ancient geography sucks) in Georgia in 6000 BC, then Iran by 5000 BC, and Grecian Macedonia by 4500 BC. (Iran's evidence comes along with the earliest signs of painting the inside of the vessel with turpentine to introduce a common modern flavor, and Grecian Macedonia's case also involves the oldes

  • Sophisticated? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @05:48PM (#45634891) Journal
    Do you add 'honey, mint, cedar, tree resins and cinnamon bark' to your wine because your technique is "sophisticated" or because you are trying to restore some semblance of drinkability to the result of a really dreadful fermentation process?
    • It reminded me of the brew that the Roman soldiers drank: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posca [wikipedia.org]

      Take bad wine and vinegar, and then spice and sweeten it up to make an ancient version of Coke.

    • Not like any modern cultures do anything similar...

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mulled_wine [wikipedia.org]
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sangria [wikipedia.org]

      • True, though (while truly ghastly results have been substantially reduced by sanitary handling equipment and standardized yeast strains) those are exactly the sort of things frequently made from deeply undistinguished jug or box wines.

        On the plus side, they don't seem to have invented wine coolers or 'flavored fortified wines' so they can count themselves blessed on those counts.
        • by Alomex (148003)

          those are exactly the sort of things frequently made from deeply undistinguished jug or box wines.

          Try making sangria once from a $20 bottle of rioja, orange juice, lime juice and a touch of brandy. You'd be surprised how much you can tell the difference, even if you are not a regular wine drinker.

        • True, though (while truly ghastly results have been substantially reduced by sanitary handling equipment and standardized yeast strains) those are exactly the sort of things frequently made from deeply undistinguished jug or box wines.

          On the plus side, they don't seem to have invented wine coolers or 'flavored fortified wines' so they can count themselves blessed on those counts.

          Sorry I forgot most of the audience here was American.

          Come to Europe. Over here wine doesn't come in boxes. And Glühwein (the word for mulled wine) is made with high quality wine, and sometimes a touch of Amaretto. In fact you would be hard pressed to find a ghastly wine. In the grocery store a 5 EUR bottle of wine will compare with $20-$30 over there.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 08, 2013 @07:19PM (#45635337)

            "Glühwein (the word for mulled wine) "

            Jesus Christ. OK, look, I've lived years in Germany, I've spent the last week drinking a lot of Gluehwein, but saying that "Gluehwein" is "the word for mulled wine" just makes you look like a cretin. Is "Gluehwein" what we call mulled wine in Britain? No. Is Britain part of Europe? Yes. We call it, err, mulled wine. It even tastes slightly different from Gluehwein, and I say that as a man who has lived many years in Britain and many years in Germany. So let's go north, to Scandinavia. Do they drink Gluehwein in Scandinavia? OH FUCK NO THEY DON'T DRINK ANY GLUEHWEIN. They drink gløgg in Norway, which last time I looked was in Europe, gløgg in Denmark which last time I looked was in Europe *and* the EU (holy shit!), and glögg in Sweden which, oh my God, is in Europe and the EU.

            OK, so let's go away from Scandinavia and into France. Surely they must drink Gluehwein, right? Right? Surely! I mean, France is central to the EU, right? Right? Oh, fuck. Gluehwein is a German word. The French don't drink Gluehwein. They drink vin chaud. Shit.

            OK, Spain! Come on, Spain! You can prove KingOfBLASH right and not a cretin! What do you drink, Spain? Gluehwein! Gluehwein! Gluehwein! Oh. No. You drink vino caliente. Cunts.

            Italy. You're one of our last hopes. We've lost Britain, we've lost Scandinavia and we've lost France. Come on, Italy! You drink... oh god you drink vin brulé. How could you?

            I knwo for a fact I'll be modded to oblivion for mocking you on this point, but honestly, try and say something serious rather than talking out of your arse. Gluehwein is very clearly not "the word" for "mulled wine" in Europe. Fuck's sake, Ireland both speaks English and uses the euro, and they call it fucking "mulled wine".

            • I'm a cretin? Is that an attack ad hominem? Where does all of this anger come from?

              You would be correct that grammatically I should have said "a word for mulled wine" instead of "the word for mulled wine." But that doesn't really warrant such an insane reaction.

              Some of the countries you forgot to mention like Austria, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Switzerland (and probably a few others) use the term Glühwein to describe some sort of warm wine drink flavored with different ingredients.

              In other co

              • by omnichad (1198475)

                I read their whole comment thinking - wow, that's really a long criticism for accidentally picking the wrong article (a vs. the). Before I could comment on it, you confirmed it!

          • Wine in Europe does indeed come in boxes. You can find many French wine producers selling their wine in boxes. The difference between the boxed French wine and boxed American wine is that the boxed American wine tends to be crap, whereas in France you can find some excellent wines in boxes. In some cases its better to go with the box, since the wine tends to last longer once opened due to the lack of aeration of the wine.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Do you add 'honey, mint, cedar, tree resins and cinnamon bark' to your wine because your technique is "sophisticated" or because you are trying to restore some semblance of drinkability to the result of a really dreadful fermentation process?

      There are over sixty additives commonly added to wines at various stages of the fermentation process today, none of which are required to be denoted on the label in any way. Now, in light of some knowledge, ask that question again.

      As an aside, wine also requires fungus only spread by wasps to reach its full potential. It's complex stuff.

    • by Inda (580031)
      I'm going with sophisticated, because the fermentation process is too easy to get wrong.

      Adding honey is called back-sweetening, and the vast majority of us brewers do it - mainly with artificial sweeteners these days. After a week, all the sugar has been converted to alcohol and the drink tastes very dry without some sort of sweetening.

      I'm currently brewing an orange and white grape mix (1 part pure orange, 1 part white grape, 1 part water). Apart from removing the pectin with an enzyme, the process I use i
  • Only the residue left? So you could add it to water and turn it into wine?
    • Re:Miraculous! (Score:5, Informative)

      by DarkOx (621550) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @06:11PM (#45634967) Journal

      So you could add it to water and turn it into wine?

      No probably just some nasty brownish sludge. All of the volatiles including the alcohol will be gone. The rest of the what was once there will probably be heavily oxidized and taste pretty nasty too. Its not instant coffee ( which is generally pretty bad itself).

    • The alcohol would've evaporated before the water did. And what's been left behind has rotted to hell and gone by now. By now, there's nothing even remotely fit for human consumption.

    • Only the residue left? So you could add it to water and turn it into wine?

      Given the nature of the sludge that was likely found, I'd wager that turning this into wine would involve a similarly miraculous feat as cutting the middleman and turning the water into wine directly.

  • Excited to try the brew they come up with to recreate this.

  • The good stuff contains a blend of ingredients that may have included honey, mint, cedar, tree resins and cinnamon bark.

    Often when I hear about ancient alcoholic beverages, all sorts of fun flavors like honey, mint, juniper and whatnot, have been brewed into the mix. Why is this not done to a larger extent today? Most of the booze you can get today is quite au naturel.

    • As another poster has pointed out, one of the reasons they added all this gunk was that the wine itself was often crap. People who really enjoy wine today generally want to just taste the wine--provided it's a *good* wine, of course.

    • The Greeks still make some vile wine befouled with pine resin. Retsina IIRC. Avoid it.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Most of the booze you can get today is quite au naturel.

      Who told you that? There's tons of alcohols with all kinds of adulterants. Besides the 60 or so assorted additives used in winemaking, people put pretty much any spices you might imagine into craft beers, and there's all kinds of herbal and herbal-infused alcohols. Jaegermeister is the best-known, but a pretty fair cocktail of herbs is used to make Bombay Sapphire Gin, and an even broader palette is used to create Hendrick's.

  • Are they certain it's not just a bomb-proof Mogen David warehouse?

  • What's "whatnot"? Animal, vegetable, or mineral?
  • bloody scientists drank all probably
  • When Chris Columbus brought back samples of 'wild grapes' from the Americas, he apparently also brought back a parasite that attacked the roots of European grape vines. (Sorry, no citation as I read this in a book so many years ago it isn't funny. Hopefully it wasn't an old wives tale, else my question will become invalidated - I did google for it, but couldn't find a reference). Apparently, the parasite was so bad that the only way to save the European grape vines was to graft the American roots onto Eu
    • by omnichad (1198475)

      Here's your citation:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_French_Wine_Blight [wikipedia.org]

      Looks like it's still not solved. And that even bringing back the old grapes won't help because the aphids are still around.

      • by omnichad (1198475)

        But it's the American roots with the European wine varieties. They're still grafted and both varieties are still around. The grapes would have mostly the flavor of the grafted European grape and not the American root.

      • by Dabido (802599)

        Thanks for that. Much appreciated.

        I was sort of wondering if they used any old DNA to recreate the old root system of the European wine. They would need an environment without the aphids (sterile environment). Someone could then produce it. Like you said, the European vines are still being grafted onto the American root systems, so maybe this discovery is irrelevant as the DNA is already there. Which now makes me wonder if they can use the European vines to grow an old root system in a sterile environm

  • Don Perignon, vintage 1609...BC. Good year.

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