World's Oldest Honey
Where was the world’s oldest honey found?
We thought it would be fun to look at the three oldest known honey finds in the world as of September 2019. Just think, these honeys can still be eaten today because antimicrobial honey never goes bad.
The world’s oldest known references to collecting honey are from the 8,000 year old ancient Araña cave paintings in Valencia, Spain.
If you think the oldest honey in the world was found in King Tut’s tomb in Egypt, you would be incorrect nowadays. Honey was revered in ancient Egypt, and until recently the oldest honey in the world was indeed found in an Egyptian tomb. That 3,000 years old honey had been placed in honey pots in the tomb of deceased pharoah King Tut to keep him happy on his celestial journey to the afterlife.
Hundreds of years before that, around 2400 BCE, ancient Egyptians created hieroglyphics of beekeeping in a most appropriate location—the Sun Temple—showing honey was a central part of life in Egypt thousands of years ago.
Long before that, around 4300 BCE in the Caucuses, deep in the Republic of Georgia, an archaeological tomb site was uncovered that belonged to the Martkopi and Bedeni people from the farming Araxes-Kura culture. The tomb belonged to an important chief or leader, and he had several other people buried with him. Inside his Bronze Age burial site, called Ananauri 3, were wild berry offerings to the dead. They were still red and incredibly well preserved, despite being 4,300 years old, because they were cured with ancient honey. Even their scent was still sweet and intense with musky undertones. Many other magnificent ancient and precious burial objects were buried with the chief to accompany him to the afterlife. They were all masterfully embalmed with honey, and are therefore surprisingly well preserved.
To get a quick glimpse of the place where the world’s oldest honey was found, watch this 1:20 minute video about the 5,500 Years Old Honey find:
In 2012, it was reported that the world’s oldest honey had been discovered in 2003 in the country of Georgia, west of Tblisi, during oil pipeline construction. Archaeologists estimate the honey is about 5,500 years old. Three types of honey were found – meadow flower, berry and linden. Much like in ancient Egypt, the honeys were in ceramic vessels in the tomb of a noblewoman so they could journey with her into the afterlife.
Thanks to journalist Paul Salopek for inspiring us with his stories during a 21,000-mile walk across the face of the world, and to National Geographic for making so many fabulous facts about our ancient history available.
Our readers come from all over the world. Do you know about any ancient honey finds in your country? If so, we’d love to hear about it over on our Facebook page!