One of the world's oldest and largest wine cellars has just been unearthed in Israel, according to a presentation today at the annual meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research in Baltimore.
The cellar dates to approximately 1700 B.C., and was found at a site called Tel Kabri within the ruins of a northern Canaanite city. Its age predates both the Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls by hundreds of years.
Climate Change Rewrites World Wine List
The researchers christened a three-foot-long jar in the cellar "Bessie."
"We dug and dug, and all of a sudden, Bessie's friends started appearing - five, 10, 15, ultimately 40 jars packed in a 15-by-25-foot storage room," Eric Cline, chair of George Washington University's Department of Classical and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, said in a press release.
Cline, who co-directed the project, continued, "This is a hugely significant discovery - it's a wine cellar that, to our knowledge, is largely unmatched in its age and size."
The 40 jars have a capacity of roughly 8453.5 cups, meaning the cellar could have held the equivalent of nearly 3,000 bottles of reds and whites.