Byzantine Grape Seeds Found in Negev

YERUSHALAYIM (Hamodia Staff) —
1,500 year old grape seeds found in the Negev. (Prof. Guy Bar-Oz)
1,500 year old grape seeds found in the Negev. (Prof. Guy Bar-Oz)

For the first time, grape seeds from the Byzantine era have been found, believed by archeologists to have been used to produce one of the finest wines of the ancient world.

The charred seeds, said to be over 1,500 years old, were found at the Halutza excavation site in the Negev.

“Our next job is to recreate the ancient wine, and perhaps in that way we will be able to reproduce its taste and understand what made the Negev wine so fine,” said University of Haifa Prof. Guy Bar-Oz, director of the excavation.

This is the first time so-called “Wine of the Negev” grape seeds have been found, that could provide direct evidence of the wine cultivated in the western Negev in ancient times.

The next stage of the study is to join forces with biologists to sequence the DNA of the seeds and in this way to discover their origin. Archeologists are seeking answers to questions related to the method by which the vines were cultivated in the Negev’s arid conditions.

The excavation has also turned up high concentration of fragments of pottery vessels used for storage, cooking and serving, which included a significant number of Gaza jugs used for storing the ancient Negev wine.

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