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Ancient vineyard plantation ceramony in Avdat

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Now this event was truly something else! We travelled all the way down to Avdat in the Negev highlands to celebrate the planting of a new ancient vineyard. The grapes we planted were local variaties that grow all around in Israel and the surrounding area, which our recent study found to be closely related to the grapes that were grown in the Negev more than a thousand years ago and were used to make the world renowned wine that was exported to the entire Roman empire. If this is news to you – check out our paper:

Ancient DNA from a lost Negev Highlands desert grape reveals a Late Antiquity wine lineage

We had a serious ceremony with speeches and all, and then we went over to the original agricultural land where the grapes were grown in Byzantine times and planted (the relatives of) the Byzantine grapes. Guy Bar-Oz, who leads this increadible ERC funded project, told us about the history, about the ancient grapes study, and about the plans for this new scientific/turistic vineyard. Then we went uphill to the Roman villa to sample diverse Negev wines and watch the sun set. A unique experience!