MILAN – During a search of a ship wreck lying 12 metres down in the Bay of Gdansk in the Polish Baltic Sea, a team of archaeologists has found what is, in all probability, the oldest bottle of mineral water in the world. Described as in “good condition and still corked”, the bottle is 30 cm tall and made from terracotta.
THE DISCOVERY – The bottle carries the name “Selters”, a German luxury mineral water sold to Europe’s rich in the 19th century. Tomasz Bednarz, an underwater archaeologist working on the wreck explained: “We know that Selters bottled a naturally carbonated water even before the 19th century, but the design of our bottle was used between 1806 and 1830”. Experts believe the wreck was a cargo vessel used for transporting goods around Northern Europe, chiefly construction materials along the Polish stretch of the Baltic coast.
A TRADITION FROM THE PAST – This discovery has shown that even back then bottling water was a widespread practice. Originally used for medicinal purposes, it was only towards the middle of the 19th century that mineral water was bottled and sold on a large scale. The find has been sent to a specialist laboratory for further examination to confirm its contents and to see whether it has been contaminated by its 200 years in the sea.