The world is filled with so much honey, but finding the oldest and purest honey in the world isn’t easy. Why? Because honey is everywhere and people have been collecting it for thousands of years. However, a new study has found that there is indeed one type of honey that outshines all others – and it’s in Georgia.
To date, this is the oldest honey specimen found and it is approximately 5500 years old, according to studies. For years, it was believed that the oldest honey was found in a burial of Tutankhamun, but archaeologists now think Georgian honey is about 2000 years older than Egyptian honey.
Sweet and Sticky Ancient Honey
Georgia is home to the oldest honey ever found.
The 5,500-year-old honey was discovered in 2003 during archeological excavations near Tbilisi. The jars contained several types of honey, including honey made with linden flowers.
Georgian honey thus predates the ancient Egyptian honey discovered in 1922 during the excavation of King Tutankhamen’s tomb by British archaeologist Howard Carter.
The researchers discovered the honey—which they believe is about 5,500 years old—by digging up different ceramic pots at an archaeological site near Tbilisi.
In order to determine the age of the honey, researchers first needed to use carbon dating. Carbon dating is a technique used by scientists to estimate the age of organic material. The process involves measuring how much carbon-14 (C-14) is left in a sample, which is an unstable radioactive isotope of carbon that decays over time into nitrogen.
Archaeologists have found honey that dates back to the third millennium BC near the village of Sakire in the Borjomi region. Ceramic containers with honey remains were found in a plunderer’s tomb in the burial mound, which was evidently left for future afterlife meals.
It is an ancient burial place where a woman is buried. A few centuries ago, she was buried with three containers in her grave. Honey was found on the walls of these containers. According to archaeologists, the woman was a beekeeper, and her burial with honey was probably part of a ritual.
The pottery vessels were discovered in a house that was built during the Bronze Age, which began around 3500 BC and lasted until about 2000 BC.
Honey vessels, two human teeth and other artifacts were discovered during the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline in 2003 in the tomb of an apparent female noblewoman.
The Oldest Example of Honey Found To Date
It is evident that honey was packaged for use in the afterlife in Ancient Georgia, as it was in Ancient Egypt. A biological analysis of the honey revealed that it was produced from linden blossoms. An unknown beekeeper had already laid out the honey in clay pots, when the heroes who navigated the Argo to Colchis did not even exist.
Ancient Georgian beekeepers certainly produced honey of a variety of types, which Georgian archaeologists predict based on the climate at the time. At an altitude of 2 thousand meters, the present village of Sakire is situated on the territory where most likely linden blossoms, grains, and wildflowers were used to produce honey.
Historically, archaeological excavations have placed Georgia on the world map a number of times. Human evolution and migration were challenged by the earliest human skulls found in Dmanisi, Georgia. In the near future, the Georgian Intellectual Property Agency will register local honey varieties and breeds of bees.
Located on the eastern coast of the Black Sea, Georgia has a long history as an important trade route between east and west. Many ancient civilizations have left their mark on this country, including the Greeks, Persians, Romans and Arabs.
Who Cares About The History of Honey?
This is all very interesting, but where does it leave us?
Is the 5,500 years old honey still edible?
Is it possible for honey to remain edible for 5,500 years, as we see in this ancient example? While we can’t say for certain what factors may have contributed to the longevity of this honey, it’s clear that honey has a long history as a valued food and has been used for both culinary and medicinal purposes for centuries. In fact, honey was used as a natural sweetener and medicinal treatment by ancient civilizations like the Egyptians and Greeks.
While we may have more advanced methods of preserving and storing food today, honey’s natural preservative qualities make it less susceptible to spoilage. If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to refined sugars, raw, local honey is a great choice. Not only does it add natural sweetness to your meals, but it may also offer some health benefits as well.
That being said, if you want something sugary without all those empty calories from refined sugars, try eating some raw local honey instead! You won’t regret it.