And they aren't even done exploring the massive space.
The tomb of Queen Meret-Neith, an Egyptian royal who was most likely the most powerful woman of her era — if not the first female pharaoh — was discovered by archaeologists well over a century ago, but there are still mysteries surrounding both her and her burial site. A team of German and Austrian archaeologists organized by the University of Vienna are currently excavating her sprawling, complicated tomb, and they’ve already made some surprising discoveries. Including lots and lots of wine.
Earlier this month, the team revealed that they had unearthed “a huge amount of grave goods” that were buried with Queen Meret-Neith, including hundreds of well-preserved wine jars. Not only were many of the jars still sealed, but some actually contained the organic remnants of the now 5,000-year-old vino.
“Considering that these are the remains of people’s lives and actions from 5,000 years ago, we are stunned every day at the amazing detail we encounter during our investigations, including the perfectly preserved grape seeds, craftwork, and even footprints in the mud,” University of Vienna archaeologist Christiana Köhler, who is leading the expedition, told Artnet.
"The discovery [...] has the potential to significantly build our understanding of some of the earliest wine production, use and trade in the ancient Mediterranean and North Africa," Emlyn Dodd, an Institute of Classical Studies researcher who did not take part in the excavation, additionally told Newsweek. "Analysis of the residues left inside the jars, for example, could illuminate the chemical composition of the wine that was once inside, revealing its flavor profile and any additive ingredients that were used."
Although the archaeologists currently working in Queen Meret-Neith's tomb have also uncovered inscriptions suggesting that she led the treasury and other central government offices, they still haven't confirmed her true identity. But we can all safely assume she'd probably really, really liked wine.
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