While it's rather easy to find a plastic bottle of mineral water anywhere these days, a rare ceramic bottle found still corked in a shipwreck is said to be one of the oldest examples of where the mineral water fad started.
According to a news release about the discovery, the bottle was found on the F-53-31 shipwreck in the Gulf of Gdansk in Poland, making the National Maritime Museum there "part of the legend of the finest mineral water from Selters."
The water from a German district in Hesse is thought to be about 200 years old.
The museum explained that Selters' water is some of the oldest in Europe with the springs being discovered in the year 1000 in the Taunus Mountains:
For centuries, Selters water had not left the tables of the mightiest of this world and its qualities became a legend: they said that even a few sips of this "fluid treasure" gave strength and health. Unfortunately, the springs of this mineral water went dry in the beginning of the 19th century and the characteristic stoneware bottles became rationed goods. In 1896, a group of enthusiasts from Selters organized a quest in order to find springs of the legendary water. After making many boreholes, a fountain of crystal clear water exploded from one of the wells below Laneburg castle. The first well of Selters mineral water was called "Selters-Sprudel-Augusta-Victoria" in honour of the wife of the last German emperor, and stoneware bottles started to be distributed around the whole world. From St. Petersburg to New York and from London to Florence, Selters became a synonym of the finest mineral water. Even today, mineral water is often known simply as "Seltz Suyu" in Turkish, "Selterskaja" in Russian and "Agua de Seltz" in Portuguese.
National Maritime Museum archaeologist Tomasz Bednarz dates the bottle to between the years 1806 and 1830.
"Apart from the bottle, we have managed to recover parts of ceramics, a small bowl and a few pieces of dinnerware. In addition, we have collected a number of stones, or even rocks (to which the shipwreck owes its name) – they were used as ballast and aft transom, i.e. a fragment of the ship’s ending above the waterline. So far, due to its preserved state and historical background, the stoneware bottle is our most valuable find," Bednarz said, according to the museum.
"We have not opened the bottle, we are no sure what it contains and what is the taste of the water which is 200 years old," Bednarz added. "However, we are very pleased to have gained such valuable piece for the Museum’s collection."
Watch some of the museum archaeologists conduct their work under water:
To this day, the museum said, Selters water is still sold as a luxury product, but in a glass rather than stone bottle.
(H/T: Daily Mail)