Hidden message in pottery reveals ancient soldiers’ wine craving

Date: June 19, 2017 Author: Categories: Wine

Now there’s an eye-catching headline! According to The New York Times, scientists have revealed a secret message hidden on a piece of pottery that proves ancients were enjoying wine over 2,500 years ago!

This exciting discovery comes from scientists at Tel Aviv University, where they used brand-new technology to uncover encoded messages on a piece of ancient pottery. This fragment was found near the site of an ancient fortress, which dates back to 600 BC.

The “Secret Message”

While this is all very impressive: what’s the most interesting, in my opinion, is the encrypted message! The research revealed a request for wine, oil, and flour - most likely from soldiers stationed at the fortress. The fortress itself is located near the modern-day Israeli city of Arad.

The text itself bears more than 50 characters, which created 17 new words. According to the paper published by the researchers, the message began with a request for wine, saying, “If there is any wine, send [quantity].  It also includes a guarantee for assistance if the receiver of the message had any requests of his own.

Historians allege that the fortress was most likely occupied by the soldiers of the Kingdom of Judah, and would have been in a tumultuous period that would lead to its downfall in this same era.

What this Means for Science

This finding is being regarded as a huge milestone in multispectral imaging. The scientists at Tel Aviv University used the technology to uncover a message that had gone unnoticed, despite it being on display,  for over 50 years!

Funny enough, the shard of pottery had been sitting in an Israeli museum for years, and this could very well be the first of many interesting discoveries using this type of technology.

What was the State of Wine in 600 BC?

Historians and archaeologists have begun to piece together what they imagine what wine consumption and production, as well as the wine culture, looked like at this time.

Dr. Patrick McGovern, otherwise known as the “Indiana Jones of Ancient Wines” makes a few suggestions. Local wines in Ancient Israeli are believed to have been dark, rich, and jammy. However, extra herbs and spices were probably added to enhance flavour.

All I can say is, I hope our dear soldier received his wine! 

Giles Cadman is Chairman of The Cadman Capital Group, a group of cohesive, complementary companies, operating in the international trade, retail, leisure, and investment markets. Read more of his wine blogs here.



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