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The Oldest Unopened Bottle of Wine in The World Dates Back to Between 325 and 359 AD

Ancient History | November 23, 2016

The wine bottle dates back to between 325 and 359 AD, and was discovered in 1867 during an excavation at a 4th-century tomb of a Roman nobleman in Germany. It is the oldest known wine bottle which remains unopened.

The Speyer Wine Bottle is housed in the Historical Museum of the Palatinate in Speyer and is always displayed at the same location in the Tower Room.

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The bottle itself is of 1.5-liter volume and is a glass vessel with amphora-like sturdy shoulders, which are yellowish green in color with handles shaped in the form of dolphins.

The nature of the wine in the bottle is also the subject of many speculations, and it has been suggested that most of the ethanol content of the wine has been lost, analyses have suggested that not all but at least some part of the liquid in the bottle has to be wine. According to the historians, the wine, which was produced in the Rhineland-Palatine region of Germany, where the bottle was found, was diluted with a mixture of various herbs.

The wine bottles were adequately preserved using a thick mixture of olive oil, which was used along with a thick wax seal to close the bottle, effectively protecting it from outside elements.

Scientists have long tried to get permission to fully analyze the contents of the bottle by opening it, but as of 2011 the bottle remains unopened. Thus any detailed analysis isn’t possible at the moment.

This is partly due to the concerns that the interaction of the liquid with the outside environment could potentially damage the content, rendering it useless for anyone.

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