Spain: Oldest wine in liquid form found in a Roman tomb

It was a big surprise as wine typically evaporates quickly and is chemically unstable.
Spain: Oldest wine in liquid form found in a Roman tomb

A 2,000-year-old Roman burial urn discovered in southern Spain contains the oldest wine ever found in liquid form.

The urn was discovered during home repairs at a property in Carmona in 2019, and its contents were analysed by a team of experts from the University of Cordoba in a paper released Monday.

According to the study's primary author, José Rafael Ruiz Arrebola, a professor of organic chemistry at the university, the urn contained cremated ashes, burned ivory from a funeral pyre, and approximately 4.5 litres of crimson liquid.

The scientists next conducted a chemical examination of the liquid, determining that it was wine. It was a big surprise for Professor Arrebola as wine typically evaporates quickly and is chemically unstable.

"This means it is almost impossible to find what we have found," he added, noting that the wine was preserved by a hermetic seal that kept it from evaporating, though it is unclear how the seal developed.

Further chemical research allowed the scientists to identify the beverage as white wine since it lacked syringic acid, which is only found in red wines, according to Ruiz Arrebola. It also has a comparable mineral salt makeup to the fino wines made in the region today, he added.

The researchers believe their discovery dethrones the current record holder for the oldest wine in a liquid condition, the Speyer wine bottle discovered in Germany estimated to be roughly 1,700 years old.

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Spain: Oldest wine in liquid form found in a Roman tomb

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