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Wine Cellar Excavated May Be Worlds Oldest and Largest Ever Discovered

Archaeologists in Israel have excavated a palace that possibly has a personal wine cellar that may be considered the worlds oldest and also larger than any that have ever been discovered before. Numerous archaeological groups have been working on unearthing the Canaanite fortress of Tel Kabri since the late 1980’s.

The Middle Bronze Age palace, which was built during 1900 B.C. to 1600 B.C., covers a massive 200 acres in the northwestern region of modern-day Israel. The newest team of scientists claim that they found the palace’s wine cellar, and it is something that even the most magnificent of wine connoisseurs would be jealous of.

Archaeologist Andrew Koh told the media that what was so fascinating about the wine cellar besides its size was that it was part of a household economy. It was the owner’s private wine vault and the wine was never intended to be given away as part of any system of providing for the public. It was only for his personal enjoyment and the support of his power.

So basically, even though despite the details that it might have been the biggest and oldest wine cellar found to the present date in the Middle East, it was used strictly for private pleasure, and not for any commercial storing.

A research report recently printed up in the science journal PLoS ONE, explained how Dr. Koh and his team unearthed the huge room located just to the west of the palace’s central courtyard. It was full of gigantic, but slender necked vessels that were believed to have held the wine. Three of the over 40 jars discovered were carefully examined and researchers found trace amounts of tartaric acid, which is one of the key acids found in wine. They also discovered syringic acid, which is a mixture linked to red wine specifically, and remains from herbs, tree resign, and even honey – all various additives to wine.

Dr. Koh explained that if the wine was still intact, he and his team would have been able to taste a fairly refined drink. Someone was actually sitting there and the person had years if not generations of experience behind him saying that these items are what best preserves the wine and gives it a better taste. It is something amazing to think about when a modern day person actually takes the time to dwell on it.

He was asked about how much wine was really in the cellar. The wine vessels were entirely of uniform size and stored just under 530 gallons of alcohol, according to preliminary reports that were presented at the yearly meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research which occurred in November of 2013.

That would be the equal to around 3,000 modern day bottles of wine. Archaeologists in Israel dug up a palace that possibly has a personal wine cellar considerably greater than any wine vault that has ever been discovered before. Several different archaeological groups have been working on unearthing the Canaanite fortress since the late 1980’s.

By Kimberly Ruble

Sources:

Science World Report

CBS News

Nature World News

Original article:
guardianlv.com

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Ancientfoods:

This I couldn’t resist. Not food but, I adore Faience figures so enjoy this collection.

Originally posted on British Museum blog:

Gianluca Miniaci, Research Fellow, British Museum

Faience hippopotamus found in tomb 477 at Matmar. (EA 63713)

Faience hippopotamus found in tomb 477 at Matmar. (EA 63713)

The British Museum has a fine collection of faience figurines made during the late Middle Kingdom and Second Intermediate Period (c. 1800–1550 BC). I have recently completed a three-month post-doctoral fellowship in the Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan, during which time I studied and documented a total of 82 examples. Most of these glazed statuettes represent animals such as hippopotami, lions, crocodiles, baboons, cats, dogs and even hedgehogs. The corpus also includes humans, most notably dwarves and female fertility figures. Images of the deities Aha and Ipy are part animal, part human. Some of the objects are non-figurative and represent food offerings such as fruit and vegetables, as well as jars, cups and bowls.

Faience figurine of a lion attacking a calf. Purchased by the British Museum in 1891. (EA 22876) Faience figurine of a lion attacking a calf. This is one of the items purchased by the British Museum…

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Archaeologists uncovered a large Byzantine Age compound west of Jerusalem, with a rarely preserved oil press, a wine press and a mosaic, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Thursday.

“This was very likely a monastery,” excavation director Irene Zilberbod said in a statement.

A spokesperson with the Antiquities Authority said the first clues of the compound were stumbled upon in recent weeks, during construction work on a new residential neighbourhood in the town of Bet Shemesh, some 35 km west of Jerusalem, Xinhua reported.

Excavations later revealed a massive compound surrounded by an outer wall and divided on the inside into industrial and residential areas.

In the industrial area, the archaeologists found an unusually large press that was uniquely preserved and was used to produce olive oil, and a large wine press. The wine press consisted of two treading floors from which the grape could flow to a collecting vat.

“The finds indicate the local residents were engaged in wine and olive oil production for their livelihood,” Zilberbod said.

She added that the impressive size of the agricultural installations shows that these facilities were used for production on an industrial-scale rather than just for domestic use.

Several rooms were exposed in the residential portion of the compound, some of which had a colourful mosaic pavement preserved in them. One of the mosaics was adorned with a cluster of grapes surrounded by flowers set within a geometric frame. Two entire ovens used for baking were also found in the compound.

Zilberbod said that although they found no unequivocal evidence of religious worship — such as a church or an inscription — the compound holds typical features of Byzantine monasteries.

“The impressive construction dating back to the Byzantine period. The magnificent mosaic floors, windows and roof tile artifacts, as well as the agricultural-industrial installations inside the dwelling compound, are all known to us from numerous other contemporary monasteries,” Zilberbod said.

“Thus it is possible to reconstruct a scenario in which monks resided in a monastery that they established, made their living from the agricultural installations and dwelled in the rooms and carried out their religious activities.”

At some point, which the archaeologists dated to the beginning of the Islamic period (7th century A.D.), the compound ceased to function and was subsequently occupied by new residents. They changed the plan of the compound and adapted it for their needs, the archaeologists said.

Original article:
newkerala.com

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Israel Antiquities Authority excavation of Byzantine-Era Compound, most likely a monastery, discovered near Beit Shemesh. Photo by Assaf Peretz, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority

I found more information athaaretz.com

Hunting Lodge (Casa della Caccia) to the exquisite decorations of the House of Apollo (Casa di Apollo) and vivid reliefs of the Trojan War, Pompeii is seducing visitors this summer with 10 newly restored houses, some of which had never been open to the public before.
of personnel at Pompeii, the ministry of culture has dispatched 30 new keepers for the holiday season, a State exam to select new janitors is in the works, and extended opening hours on Friday mean the public can stroll through the ruins after sundown.
more than 13,000 visitors flocked to Pompeii on the August 15 national religious holiday, bringing proceeds in excess of 114,000 euros, while 122 people decided to explore the city preserved in lava during night visiting hours.
The 10 new houses include the Thermopolium (Latin for restaurant) of Vetutius Placidus, where people could buy cooked food to go. It boasts shrines to Mercury and Dionysus (the gods of commerce and wine, respectively), a dining hall, and an adjoining mansion with a vestibule, a garden, and a dining room.

The Ancient Hunting Lodge (Casa della Caccia Antica) is another must-see at Pompeii. According to experts, it had just undergone renovation when it was buried under meters of ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. An extensive hunting scene is still visible on one of its garden walls, and its interiors are luxuriously decorated with beautiful paintings and marble-like coverings.

Also noteworthy are the Domus Cornelia and its exquisite sculptures, the House of Apollo adorned with images of the god to which it owes its name, and the House of Achilles with its impressive reliefs of the Trojan war.

Source: ANSA [August 19, 2014]

Original article:
Posted by Tann
archaeology newsnetwork

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Thermopolium of Vetutius Placidus [Credit: Vanni Archive/Corbis]

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A 2,000-year-old kitchen, which dates back to the late Roman era, has been discovered in the ancient city of Sagalassos in Turkey’s southern province of Burdur.
Excavations in the ancient city started in early June, but the discovery of the kitchen was only reported last month.

“The kitchen was completely unearthed. We will learn in great detail about the kitchen culture present in that era. This is a very detailed scientific work. Not only archaeologists, but also anthropologists, zoologists and botanists are working together [on this project],” said Professor Jereon Poblome, head of excavations.

“There are no tiles on the ground, only soil. The understanding of hygiene was different in the late Roman era. Ergonomically, it is a difficult kitchen for us [to use], but they became used to it. They use to put coal in the middle and a pot on it with bulgur and meat inside. They used to put two more pots on both sides to keep it warm. There were no ovens at that time, so they used a floor furnace and used it to cooked bread. All details [regarding the kitchen and its surroundings] will eventually come to light,” Poblome added, noting the ancient kitchen was very small compared to modern-day kitchens.
“We are mainly working on excavating baths [at the moment]. We would like to open this place to visitors because we want show the beauty this place has to offer. Our works in the upper agora have been continuing for many years. We estimate that they will end in 2017-2018,” he said.

Monumental city

Since 1990, Marc Waelkens of the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium has been leading a major excavation project at the Sagalassos site.

The first survey documents 1,000 years of occupation – from Alexander the Great to the 7th century – as well as the changing settlement patterns, vegetation history, farming practices and the changes in the climate in the area during the last 10,000

Source: Hurriyet Daily News [August 21, 2014]
Posted by Tann

Original article:
archeologynewsnetwork

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A kitchen was completely unearthed in the ancient city of Sagalassos. ‘It is very small compared to modern-day kitchens,’ says Jereon Poblome [Credit: AA]

Northampton brewers have taken special interest in a medieval ‘malting’ oven found at the site of an archaeological dig in the town centre, possibly indicating the town’s first brewery.

Directors from Phipps Brewery and Carlsberg came to visit the large stone pit, still showing scorch marks from flames, which would have been used to roast barley and turn its starch into sugar, one of the main ingredients of beer at the time.

The remains were found at a dig on a former car park off St John’s Street as archaeologists from Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) prepare the site for the building of new Northamptonshire County Council headquarters.

Phipps director and assistant brewer, Roy Crutchley, said: “To find out that we are part of something that goes back 800 years really makes us feel like part of the local heritage.

“It’s fascinating to see how well planned the process was. This oven on the site would have produced about a tonne of barley maltings at a time which could then be taken somewhere nearby to turn into beer.

“It would have tasted very different back then, probably a lot stronger but, no doubt, safer to drink than the local water.”

Channel 4’s Time Team programme’s post-Roman pottery expert, Paul Blinkhorn, attended two open days at site and exhibited pieces of jewellery and pottery that had been found.

Mr Blinkhorn, who lives in Abington and used to work on archaeology projects in Northampton, said: “It’s early days to say exactly what we have here, but we have uncovered boxes and boxes of pieces and I will be looking at each individually to find patterns of change to help date the site.

MOLA senior project manager, Jim Brown, said: “We expected to find a series of medieval building plots as, towards the end of the 13th Century, the town was in its heyday with industry and investment flooding in after King John said he wanted to make it the capital town of England.

“In getting to this level, 2.5m below ground, we’ve also come across remains of Victorian workshop cellars and, when we have finished on the medieval site, we will see if there is anything deeper before finishing completely in September.”

Author: Francesca Gosling | Source: Northampton Chronicle [August 10, 2014]

Original article:
archaeologynewnetwork

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Archaeologists have unearthed a medieval ‘malting’ oven in Northampton
[Credit: Northampton Chronicle]

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Ceramic finds retrieved from the site [Credit: Northampton Chronicle]

An Early Bronze Age burial mound in Georgia, known as a kurgan, held in its depths astonishingly well preserved wild fruits. Sitting underground for thousands of years, left as nourishment for the hungry souls of the dead, these fruits even exuded the aroma of fresh fruit when researchers sliced into them.

They were preserved in honey. Honey was also found on the bones in the burial chamber, suggesting it may have been used for embalming the corpses.

Honey has a low concentration of water and a high concentration of sugar. Much like salt, it can push the water out of bacteria cells, drying them up before they can get to the food (or corpses) the honey is protecting. Honey is essentially a combination of sugars and hydrogen peroxide. Just as hydrogen peroxide is used to clean bacteria from wounds, it can also kill bacteria that cause food to spoil.

Ancient Assyrians, who lived in a region east of Egypt, also preserved corpses in honey. When Alexander the Great conquered the Persian city of Susa in the 4th century B.C., he found large quantities of 200-year-old purple dye well-preserved under a layer of honey.

Skipping ahead to 2011, researchers isolated a bacterial strain in some types of honey that has very unusual properties. One of it’s surprising characteristics is its ability to produce a compound, thurincin H, that forms into a helical structure. This structure may allow it to infiltrate the membranes of other bacteria to destroy it.

“Like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, the compound mimics the structure of the molecules that form bacterial membranes … but it may disrupt those membranes by forming a rigid pore,” explained a Cornell University article.

Other Significant Finds in the Kurgan

Dr. Zurab Makharadze, head of the Centre of Archaeology at the Georgian National Museum, explained via email some other significant finds at the kurgan.

The mound was about 330 feet across, and the inner space of the construction was 30 by 20 feet. It contained two four-wheeled wagons, some of the best surviving examples of such devices from the time.
Archaeologists found evidence of ancient robbery, including tunnels into the chamber and disturbed artifacts and human remains. It is possible some of the robbers had attended the burial ceremony, as some evidence suggest the thieves knew what was placed where, Makharadze told Georgian publication Agenda.

It appears the family contained in the chamber was accompanied in death by servants—human sacrifices.

Riches remained despite the robberies, including ornamented vessels, amber beads, and 23 golden items, “among them rare and high artistic crafted jewelry,” Makharadze said. A unique wooden armchair was found, along with nuts, red berries, textiles, and arrowheads.

The good condition and unique nature of many of the artifacts make this an important site, Makharadze said: “[It] keeps huge scientific information and its importance is undoubtedly obvious for Caucasian and Near East archaeology.”

Agenda noted that the kurgan sites are as important to understanding ancient Georgian culture as the pyramids are in the study of ancient Egypt. The human remains are being tested at a lab in Germany to determine the relationships between the people buried in this kurgan and how they died.

Original article:
By Tara MacIsaac, Epoch Times |

theepochtimes.com

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