Georgians have long laid claim to being the first winemakers in the world, but could they also be pioneer beekeepers? After a thorough examination of some five-millennia-plus-old jars unearthed in Georgia, archeologists have declared that the artifacts contain the world’s oldest honey.
The honey stains found in the ceramic vessels, found 170 kilometers west of Tbilisi, are believed to be made by bees that buzzed around in Georgia 5,500 years ago -- some 2,000 years older than the honey found in Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamen’s tomb, which had been considered the oldest before, Rustavi2 proudly pointed out.
As in ancient Egypt, in ancient Georgia, honey was apparently packed for people's journeys into the afterlife. And more than one type, too -- along for the trip were linden, berry, and a meadow-flower variety.
The honey vessels, two human teeth and other artifacts were found in the tomb of an apparent female noblewoman, which was discovered in 2003 during the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline.
This is not the first time that archaeological excavations have placed Georgia or the South Caucasus on the world map. Early human skulls found in Georgia’s Dmanisi region have challenged beliefs on human evolution and migration. Two years ago, neighboring Armenia found the world’s oldest shoe.
As archeologists keep digging ever deeper, chances are that the Caucasus could soon rank again in another “world’s oldest” category.