JERUSALEM, Israel -- A team of U.S. and Israeli archaeologists excavating at Tel Kabri in the Western Galilee uncovered what's believed to be the oldest and largest wine cellar in the area.
"As far as we know, this is the largest and most ancient wine cellar in the ancient east," Prof. Eric Cline of George Washington University said of the 40 jugs that would have held a whopping 2,000 liters -- about 3,000 bottles by today's standards.
Prof. Cline, Brandeis University's Dr. Andrew Koh and University of Haifa senior researcher Dr. Assaf Yasur-Landau, co-directors at Tel Kabri, are excavating the palace where the Canaanite city officials lived,Israel Hayom reported.
Constructed during the Middle Bronze Age more than 3,600 years ago, the two-story structure could have sprawled across some 6,000 square meters (yards) during the 300 years it stood. Its huge banquet hall could have accommodated some 500 guests.
Dr. Koh, who analyzed the material found on the outside of the jugs, found traces of ingredients that were used for two millennia in medicinal wines in Egypt.
According to the report, the researchers want to try to reproduce the wine consumed thousands of years ago.
Every year, the Tel Kabri team of archaeologists invites volunteers to come to excavate the site and learn more about Israel and the ancient city.