Oldest Message in a Bottle Discovered
A 108-year-old postcard offering a shilling in exchange for its return to an English marine research institute is now officially the world's oldest message in a bottle.
A 108-year-old postcard offering a shilling in exchange for its return to an English marine research institute is now officially the world's oldest message in a bottle after being recovered in Germany.
The Plymouth Laboratory of the Marine Biological Association (MBA), which received the card, said this week that the bottle had smashed the old record of 99 years and 43 days in the Guinness World Records.
It was discovered by retired German postal worker Marianne Winkler while on holiday on Germany's North Frisian islands, 108 years and 138 days after it was thrown into the North Sea off the English coast by distinguished marine biologist George Parker Bidder on November 30, 1906.
Winkler followed the message inside reading "break the bottle", and found a postcard inside asking to be returned to the MBA in Plymouth, on England's south coast.
"The postcard asked the finder to fill out information about where the bottle was found, if it was trawled up, what the boat's name was, and asked once the postcard was completed for it to be returned to a George Parker Bidder in Plymouth for a reward of one shilling," said Guy Baker of the MBA.
When Winkler wrote a letter addressed to Bidder "our receptionist was somewhat confused".
Bidder released a total of 1,020 bottles between 1904 and 1906.
He found that many bottles that sank to the bottom of the southern North Sea washed up in England, while floating bottles moved towards mainland Europe.
From this, he deduced for the first time that the North Sea's deep sea current flowed from east to west.
The MBA is still an internationally renowned research institution, and Bidder served as its president between 1939-45 before his death in 1954, aged 91.
Honoring its promise, the MBA forwarded a thank you letter and an old shilling piece to the finder.
Stock image of a message in a bottle. A bottle recovered recently in Germany is estimated to be 108 years old.
The ancestor of Chianti wine may have been found in this ancient 105-foot-deep well in the Chiantishire region of Tuscany.
Located in Cetamura, an ancient hilltop near Gaiole in Chianti in the province of Siena, the well has been excavated for the past four years by a team led by Nancy de Grummond, a professor of classics at Florida State, under the supervision of the Archaeological Superintendency of Tuscany and with the help of the Italian archaeological firm of Ichnos.
The archaeologists unearthed a bonanza of artifacts spanning a period of more than 15 centuries, and embracing Etruscan, Roman and medieval civilization in Tuscany.
Artifacts recovered ranged from bronze vessels, votive cups, statuettes, bronze artifats to coins, game pieces and animal bones.
The most precious material, though, might be some 500 waterlogged grape seeds. Found in at least three different levels of the well, which include the Etruscan and Roman levels, the perfectly preserved pips might reveal the ancestors of Chianti an provide key insights into the history of viticulture in a region now famous for its bold reds.
Offerings found in the well, which like other water sources in antiquity, was regarded as sacred, included hundreds of miniature votive cups, some 70 bronze and silver coins, numerous pieces used in games of fortune, and several statuettes. Here is a bronze statuette of a playful calf.
Among the most notable finds are 14 Roman and Etruscan bronze vessels, of different shapes and sizes and with varying decorations, that had been used to extract water.
One of the Etruscan vessels, actually a wine bucket, appears finely tooled and decorated with figurines of the marine monster Skylla.
The archaeologists were able to put into context the grape pips as they unearthed many objects associated with wine drinking and numerous ceramic vessels related to wine storage. The picture shows an Etruscan wine strainer handle with deer head finial.