In yet another boozy discovery of the ancient world, archeologists believe they have uncovered the oldest industrial wine press from northern Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq). The findings date back 2,700 years to Assyrian times, one of the world’s oldest empires, according to Reuters.
“This is a quite unique archaeological finding because it is the first time in northern Mesopotamia that archaeologists are able to identify a wine production area,” Daniele Morandi Bonacossi, Professor at the University of Udine, said.
Among the ruins, Italian archeologists from the University of Udine found 14 industrial installations carved into mountain rocks. Square and circle basins were located near the site, which would have helped workers press grapes and extract their juice during the wine-making process. The grape juice (must) would then be transferred into clay jars, fermented, and distributed throughout the region.
Between the winepress and archaeobotanical remains, the site located near the northern Iraqi province of Dohuk holds significant historical context. ”In the late Assyrian period, between the 8th and the 7th century BC, there was a dramatic increase […] in wine demand, and in wine production,” Bonacossi stated. “The imperial Assyrian court asked for more and more wine.”
Additional research is ongoing, but for now, the team of archeologists is working to add the site to the UNESCO world heritage list.