The world oldest unsealed bottle of wine remains sealed since the 4th century

The world oldest unsealed bottle of wine remains sealed since the 4th century

The world oldest unsealed bottle of wine remains sealed since the 4th century

Contemporary historians have been discussing the future of the world’s oldest wine bottle, known as the Speyer wine bottle, or “Römerwein,” for a few years now.

Historians have confused about whether the bottle should be opened or not.  

This exceptionally rare artefact is 1,650 years old and is housed in the Palatinate Historical Museum in Germany.

The world oldest unsealed bottle of wine remains sealed since the 4th century
The world’s oldest known bottle of wine, 325 AD, Historical Museum of the Palatinate, Speyer, Germany. ( image source )

The glass amphora has dolphin-shaped handles and  is sealed with wax. The content of the bottle is around one-third of the olive oil used in the past as a preservative to avoid oxidation of the wine.

In 1867, in the Rhineland-Palatine region of Germany, the Speyer bottle was found in the grave of a Roman nobleman and created a real stir among historians and archaeologists at the time.

It is said that the noble owner, assumed to be a high-ranking Legionnaire, was buried with the wine bottle, an ancient tradition that describes the beliefs of the Romans in the after-life, that is, sending precious items with the body of the deceased so that in the “hereafter” she or he can use them.

Reportedly, The tomb near the town of Speyer also contained the sarcophagi of his two spouses.

The antique bottle is named after the town of Speyer, indicating thousands of years of human history and customs.

In the glory days of Ancient Rome, the wine and wine cult was observed diligently.

A delightful party centrepiece that seemingly turned one liquid into another was one of the inventions of the Hero of Alexandria, an inventor who was centuries ahead of his time.

To make it appear that water added to the vessel was dispensed as wine, his trick jug incorporated two separate, sealed compartments and some clever pneumatics.

This is one of a number of similar devices that Hero mentioned in his  Pneumatica.

A chemist examined the Speyer bottle during WWI, but never opened it, so the wine was given to the Palatinate Historical Museum collection in Speyer.

The world oldest unsealed bottle of wine remains sealed since the 4th century
The Speyer wine bottle. ( image source )

Over time, many scientists have hoped to get permission to thoroughly examine the contents of the bottle, but nobody has been granted one yet.

Some scientists and microbiologists, including Ludger Tekampe, the curator of the Folklore Wine Museum collection, are adamant that the bottle shouldn’t be opened.

On this matter Tekampe said —” We are not sure whather or not it could survive the shock to the air. It’s still liquid, and some who consider it should be submitted to new scientific analysis, but we’re not sure,” 

This rare artefact of the ancient world was produced during the early days of the wine production and consumption tradition, which was started by the ancient Greeks.

The ancient Romans has later adopted the tradition, who also took Dionysus, the Greek god of agriculture, wine, and fertility, and called him Bacchus.

Unlike the general notion and assumption that the older the wine is, the better, The Speyer wine is believed to be undrinkable.

Professor Monika Christmann said in a statemant—While the Speyer wine may not be microbiologically spoiled, it would not bring joy to the palate.

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