The Remarkable Discovery of 5,000-Year-Old Wine in the Tomb of an Egyptian Queen
Aged to Perfection: The Remarkable Discovery of 5,000-Year-Old Wine in the Tomb of an Egyptian Queen
Over a century ago, archaeologists stumbled upon the tomb of Queen Meret-Neith, a prominent figure in ancient Egypt who might have been one of the most influential women of her time, and potentially the first female pharaoh. However, despite the lengthy passage of time, numerous enigmas still shroud both the queen herself and the location of her final resting place. A joint effort by a team of German and Austrian archaeologists, under the direction of the University of Vienna, is presently engaged in the extensive excavation of her elaborate tomb, yielding astonishing discoveries, one of which involves an abundance of wine.
In a recent announcement, the research team unveiled the staggering volume of grave goods interred alongside Queen Meret-Neith, a collection that included several hundred well-preserved wine jars. Remarkably, many of these containers remained tightly sealed, with some still containing traces of the ancient wine, now an impressive 5,000 years old.
“Considering that these are the remains of people’s lives and actions from 5,000 years ago, we are stunned every day at the amazing detail we encounter during our investigations, including the perfectly preserved grape seeds, craftwork, and even footprints in the mud,” University of Vienna archaeologist Christiana Köhler, who is leading the expedition, told Artnet.
"The discovery [...] has the potential to significantly build our understanding of some of the earliest wine production, use and trade in the ancient Mediterranean and North Africa," Emlyn Dodd, an Institute of Classical Studies researcher who did not take part in the excavation, additionally told Newsweek. "Analysis of the residues left inside the jars, for example, could illuminate the chemical composition of the wine that was once inside, revealing its flavor profile and any additive ingredients that were used."
While the archaeologists excavating Queen Meret-Neith's tomb have revealed inscriptions hinting at her potential leadership of the treasury and other key government sectors, her exact identity remains unverified.