• Germany edition
 
Museum scared to open ancient Roman wine
Photo: DPA

Museum scared to open ancient Roman wine

Published: 09 Dec 2011 11:55 GMT+01:00
Updated: 09 Dec 2011 11:55 GMT+01:00

The glass bottle, thought to be at least 1,650 years old, was found in a Roman grave near Speyer in 1867 and put on display at the museum. Since then, it’s been handled extremely carefully, and been on display in the exact same spot in the museum for 100 years.

Museum directors fear that a moment's carelessness could shatter the bottle, destroying its priceless content. Though scientists would like to test it to figure out exactly how old the wine is and where it comes from, as well as perhaps seeing how it tastes – cracking it open is out of the question.

“It’s not clear what would happen if air gets into the wine,” said Ludger Tekampe, who heads the department responsible for storing it.

There’s also the danger that, after all this time, it could have become poisonous, although scientists suspect the alcohol would not be dangerous, but just taste disgusting.

In any event, the ultra-old wine has survived a lot, including ancient drinkers, handling on its way to the museum, and two world wars, with nary a problem.

Tekampe said he hasn’t observed any changes in the wine or its container in his 25 years at the museum, the bottle appears to have been carefully constructed by the Romans to prevent the wine from decomposing.

“The content is remarkably stable,” Tekampe said.

Still he’s the only one who handles the bottle. Everyone else is just too afraid.

“I held the bottle in my hand twice during renovations. It was a strange feeling,” Tekampe said.

The Local/DPA/mdm

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

13:07 December 9, 2011 by Jeffvm
So is it sealed closed with glass then?
14:52 December 9, 2011 by Frenemy
I pity the fool who takes a drink of that muck...
15:39 December 9, 2011 by danamcmahon
What they need is a machine like there is on the planet mars studing the surface for clues. But dont let the CIA silly story you and say can we borrow it to study, cause if is more poisonous,and they break it open, and it kills most of them, they will start another war with you. Remember the frankenstien story.
18:59 December 9, 2011 by Englishted
Is this the stuff sold at the Berlin Christmas market ?.
19:28 December 9, 2011 by koli
What if it not wine? See, the Romans also used bottles to pee so...
19:50 December 9, 2011 by Kris Koln
It Lokks disgusting , In any restuarant , i would reject this .
20:22 December 9, 2011 by nedmesis
Italy's oldest food fraud.
20:49 December 9, 2011 by Loth
First its wine, then it turns to vinegar after time, then it turns to this globby looking stuff? Is it dead bacteria?
00:20 December 10, 2011 by cmorris
Why are they so scared. With technology the way it is, they should be able to extract some wine from the bottle somehow. Open it in a bowl, so if it breaks, the wine stays in the bowl. Sounds to me they really do not want to open the bottle.
15:08 December 10, 2011 by bugger
1st applicant here!

I am willing to test it!
00:36 December 21, 2011 by Drbio
I do not understand why a small sample is not removed using a syringe while maintaining its integrity?
Today's headlines
Oettinger blames celebs for nude photo hack
Oettinger (l) appeared to misunderstand how the internet works in his comments about the photo hack which has reportedly affected celebrities including Amber Heard (r). Photo: DPA/EPA

Oettinger blames celebs for nude photo hack

German newspapers on Tuesday ridiculed incoming EU Digital Commissioner Günther Oettinger after he blamed "stupid" celebrities for having their private nude pictures hacked and spread online. READ  

Shots fired as ‘seniors’ rob Berlin security van
Police outside the Apple Store in Berlin where a security van was robbed. Photo: DPA

Shots fired as ‘seniors’ rob Berlin security van

A gang disguised as pensioners opened fire on a Berlin security van on Monday night, escaping with cash before setting their getaway car on fire. It is the second such attack in ten days. READ  

Pickpocket fools minister at anti-crime event
Ralf Jäger in front of a sign reading "eyes open and pockets closed" at the pickpocketing awareness event. Photo: DPA

Pickpocket fools minister at anti-crime event

North Rhine-Westphalia's interior minister Ralf Jäger was pickpocketed by a magician at a press conference he called on Monday to launch a campaign against pickpocketing. READ  

Berlin heart centre fiddled transplant list
Photo: DPA

Berlin heart centre fiddled transplant list

A probe into German transplant centres sparked by an organ donor scandal has revealed 14 cases of a doctor fiddling medical records at one of Germany’s leading heart centres. READ  

Lufthansa strike hits 20,000 passengers
A stranded group of travellers from Vancouver, Canada, sit and wait at Frankfurt Airport on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Lufthansa strike hits 20,000 passengers

UPDATE: The fourth pilots’ strike in recent weeks hit Germany’s biggest airport on Tuesday morning, with long-haul Lufthansa flights grounded at Frankfurt. Around 20,000 passengers have been affected. READ  

View from Germany
'Criminals are at work in refugee homes'
Photo: DPA/Police

'Criminals are at work in refugee homes'

A photo appearing to show a refugee being abused at a home for asylum seekers has caused outrage in Germany. The photo has been compared to those from Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib. Police are now investigating six cases of abuse at three different centres. READ  

Police suspect neo-Nazis of Reichstag attack
An investigator gives a sniffer dog the scent of an object found at the scene. Photo: DPA

Police suspect neo-Nazis of Reichstag attack

Investigators believe a Molotov cocktail thrown at the Reichstag building in Berlin early on Monday morning was the work of a far-right group, a police spokeswoman said on Tuesday. READ  

Unemployment rate stagnates in September
Photo: DPA

Unemployment rate stagnates in September

Unemployment in Germany stagnated in September, as clouds continue to build over Europe's biggest economy, official data showed on Tuesday. READ  

Germany struggles with Turkey Nato mission
A Bundeswehr Patriot missile in southern Turkey. Photo: DPA

Germany struggles with Turkey Nato mission

A shortage of trained troops caused more embarrassment for Germany's military on Tuesday when it emerged that more than one in four soldiers taking part in a Nato mission in Turkey are not getting their allotted time off between deployments. READ  

Spielberg to shoot spy thriller in Berlin
Spielberg (l), Amy Ryan (c) and Tom Hanks (r). Photo: DPA

Spielberg to shoot spy thriller in Berlin

Director Steven Spielberg is to shoot his next film in Germany, the Berlin-Brandenburg Film Board announced on Monday. The Jurassic Park and Saving Private Ryan director is turning his attention to a Cold War spy thriller. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
Immigrants have created how many German jobs?
Photo: DPA
Munich
Brit raped at Oktoberfest while going to toilet
Photo: DPA
National
Revealed: Germany's military feet of clay
Marks & Spencer
Sponsored Article
Marks and Spencer: Win €300 toward your new autumn wardrobe
Photo: Shutterstock
Society
Quiz: How good is your German?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Thousands take to Berlin's streets for marathon
Photo: DPA
Society
'Incest should be legal,' says ethics board
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Ten noises that sound very different in German
Photo: DPA
Society
QUIZ: Can you pass the German citizenship test?
Photo: Shutterstock
Gallery
Ten German words you'll never want to hear again
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,154
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd