5,000-year-old wine unearthed in Egyptian queen’s tomb — behind the ‘exciting’ discovery

5,000-year-old wine unearthed in Egyptian queen’s tomb — behind the ‘exciting’ discovery


Aged to perfection?

Sealed jars of wine from 5,000 years ago have been discovered in the tomb of a woman believed to be Egypt’s first female pharaoh, SWNS reports.

A German-Austrian team, led by archaeologist Christiana Köhler from the University of Vienna, was conducting an excavation of Queen Meret-Neith’s tomb in Abydos when they stumbled across the large wine jars.

Some were well preserved and even still sealed in their original state.

“The wine was no longer liquid, and we can’t tell if it was red or white,” Köhler said in a statement last week.

“We found a lot of organic residue, grape seeds and crystals, possibly tartar, and all of this is currently being scientifically analyzed. It is probably the second oldest direct evidence for wine; the oldest also comes from Abydos.”

The queen’s burial chamber, which lies in the center of the complex, is surrounded by the secondary tombs of courtiers and servants.
EC Köhler / SWNS
These are the 5000-year-old wine jars — some are still sealed. 
EC Köhler / SWNS

Although her true identity remains a mystery, Meret-Neith was the only woman to have her own monumental tomb in Egypt’s first royal cemetery at Abydos.

Based on tomb inscriptions, researchers determined she was responsible for government agencies such as the treasury, around 3,000 BC.

Meret-Neith was the predecessor of Queen Hatshepsut from the 18th dynasty.

“The new excavations bring to light exciting new information about this unique woman and her time,” Köhler said.

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Meret-Neith’s desert tomb complex — which includes the tombs of 41 courtiers and servants, in addition to her own burial chamber — was constructed with unbaked mud bricks, clay and wood.

Excellently preserved grape seeds were found in the sealed wine jars.
EC Köhler / SWNS

The team learned that the tombs were built in several phases over a relatively long period of time.

Their research challenges the theory that human sacrifices accompanied royal burials in the 1st Dynasty.

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