Unearthed during excavation for building a house in a vineyard near the town of Speyer, Germany, it was inside one of two Roman stone sarcophaguses that were dug up. The bottle dates from approximately 325 A.D. and was found in 1867.
The greenish-yellow glass amphora has handles formed in the shape of dolphins. One of several bottles discovered, it is the only one with the contents still preserved.
The ancient liquid has much silty sediment. About two-thirds of the contents are a thicker, hazy mixture. This is most probably olive oil, which the Romans commonly used to "float" atop wine to preserve it from oxidation. Cork closures, although known to exist at the time, were quite uncommon. Their oil method of preservation was apparently effective enough to keep the wine from evaporation up to modern day.
The bottle is on permanent display, along with other wine antiquities, at the Historisches Museum der Pfalz (History Museum of the Pfalz), worth a visit if traveling near the area of Speyer, Germany.
Reprinted from www.winepros.org