7,000 Year-old Wine Jar [Object of the Day #23]

July 18, 2012

7,000 Year-old Wine Jar from Iran
7,000 Year-old Wine Jar from Iran

The practice of wine-making or viniculture can be traced back to the Neolithic period, 7,000 years ago when the first Eurasian grape vines were domesticated for this purpose. This “Wine Jar” was found at Hasanlu in Hajji Firuz, Iran. It has been reconstructed from multiple fragments. The jar is one of a series of jars found sunken into the floor along an interior wall of a “kitchen” in a well-preserved Neolithic house at HF Tepe in North West Iran. The jar had a capacity of approximately 9 liters (2.5 gallons). It is the oldest known wine storage container in the world. Analyses of the two jars in the Penn Museum showed that they had contained a resinated wine or “retsina,” i.e., with terebinth tree or pine resin added as a preservative and medical agent. There was a red to go with the white wine, based on the colors of the residues.

Find out about other ancient wine research by Dr. Pat McGovern, Penn Museum Biomolecular Archaeology

Penn Museum Object #69-12-15.

See this and other objects like it in Penn Museum’s Online Collections Database.