ancient Greek ceramic transport

Shipwreck yields world's oldest salad dressing

By Jennifer Viegas

Olive oil infused with fragrant herbs has been identified in an ancient Greek ceramic transport jar known as an amphora, along with another container of what could be the world's oldest retsina-type wine, according to a recent Journal of Archaeological Science paper. 

It is the first time DNA has been extracted from shipwrecked artifacts -- the two large jars were recovered from a 2,400-year-old wrecked vessel off the Greek island of Chios.

If the second jar indeed contained a retsina-like wine, which is preserved and flavored with a tree resin known as mastic, then the find would push back the known origins of mastic cultivation by 200 years. 

"This (study) opens new possibilities for archaeologists -- now perhaps we can figure out what was carried in almost every 'empty' jar we find in land excavations or shipwrecks," researcher Brendan Foley of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution told Discovery News.