An ancient wine cellar in Israel is proving early Canaanites had a taste for the good stuff.
A team of researchers recently uncovered the 3,700-year-old cellar near the town of Nahariya, and said this week that remnants from the site prove just how sophisticated wines in the ancient era actually were, something that was only hinted at in texts before.
“It’s not wine that somebody is just going to come home from a hard day and kick back and drink,” said Andrew Koh of Brandeis University.
Scientists found traces of cinnamon bark, mint, honey, cedar and tree resin in the cellar, and said the wine was probably reserved for special occasions, like a banquet.
Koh, Eric Cline of George Washington University, and Assaf Yasur-Landau of the University of Haifa presented the findings to the media at a press conference Thursday.
“We’re thinking it’s a palatial wine cellar,” said Cline. “It’s just enough for the ruler and his household.”
Researchers plan to continue studying the wine residue, in hopes of recreating the original recipe. The scientists said the amounts of each ingredient indicate the wine was created using a detailed formula.
“We can imagine it was like if you take a resinated wine and pour cough syrup in,” Yasur-Landau said.
The group of researchers has been digging at the site since 2005. The spot is believed to be the remains of an ancient Canaanite palace, the only one of its kind to be found so far in Israel.