When it comes to excavating historical relics that are older than we are, even the most average things can be infinitely fascinating.
Archaeologists and researchers worldwide are constantly participating in digs in order to find relics of ages long-forgotten, and finding just about anything perfectly intact is considered a pretty huge find. It doesn't matter if it's something as simple as a cup or piece of cutlery, or even something as mundane and gross as a chamber pot or a privy.
Case and point: researchers have found something in the country of Georgia that, while it looks like a pretty normal pot, actually contains traces of wine that would be over 8,000 years old!
The pottery jars were discovered in two Neolithic villages, called Gadachrili Gora and Shulaveris Gora, about 50km (30 miles) south of Tbilisi, Georgia researchers said. What's interesting about them is that they contain traces of fermented grapes, meaning these might very well be the oldest evidence we have of wine-making and storage!
"We believe this is the oldest example of the domestication of a wild-growing Eurasian grapevine solely for the production of wine," said Stephen Batiuk, a senior researcher at the University of Toronto. "Wine is central to civilization as we know it in the West. As a medicine, social lubricant, mind-altering substance and highly valued commodity, wine became the focus of religious cults, pharmacopoeias, cuisines, economies and society in the ancient Near East."
Large jars called qvevri, similar to the ancient ones, are still used for wine-making in Georgia, and the ones found in the dig are very much made in the same style. Mr. Batiuk said the wine itself was probably made in a similar way to the qvevri method today "where the grapes are crushed and the fruit, stems and seeds are all fermented together".
Before this find, the oldest wine-making tools were thought to be 7,000 years old; found in the Zagros Mountains of Iran and dating back to 5,400-5,000 BC.
Would you be curious to see what wine was like 8,000 years ago?