It’s been a big year for the archaeology community, particularly on the booze front: archaeologists discovered a Roman Empire-era wine refrigerator in Poland, as well as a winemaking theater in Italy dating back to 240 AD. Now, a new discovery has turned the discussion to ancient Egypt’s wine-centric traditions.
A team of archaeologists researching an ancient royal tomb in Egypt’s Umm El Qa’āb necropolis uncovered hundreds of well-preserved wine jars during a recent excavation, according to Newsweek. The scientists claim that the wine vessels are around 5,000 years old, and it appears that the sealed jars have never been opened.
This site is located in the Egyptian city of Abydos, an ancient area known for holding some of the most important archaeological sites of the nation that’s scattered with royal tombs from the Early Dynastic Period. The archaeologists who made this recent discovery were hoping to discover more about the historical figure Queen Merneith, who was thought to be a leader in ancient Egypt’s First Dynasty, though much of her life still remains unknown. Many scholars believe that Merneith was the first female pharaoh of Egypt, and hope that the research on this tomb will reveal more about her role.
The burial site was filled with many gifts for the supposed Queen, including the jars of wine. This finding provides some insight on the role that wine may have played in the culture of the First Dynasty. Since it was a feature of this royal tomb, it’s likely that wine was quite valuable to the community.