Scientists studying jars recovered from King Tutankhamen's tomb have extracted the first chemical evidence of white wine in ancient Egypt.
A team led by Maria Rosa Guasch-Jané of the University of Barcelona analyzed the chemical makeup of dried liquid residues on the inside surfaces of six jars from the boy-king's tomb. The jars are now displayed at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
Residue in each jar contained tartaric acid, a chemical marker of grapes, the investigators report in the upcoming August Journal of Archaeological Science. One jar yielded dark residue that also displayed traces of syringic acid, a substance derived from the main pigment of red wine. The other jars served up yellow or pale-brown residues that lacked syringic acid. Those vessels must have held white wine, Guasch-Jané and her coworkers propose.
Two other jars from Tut's royal grave previously analyzed by the same researchers contained red wine residue.