Arte & Immagini Srl/Corbis

After passing a cup of wine among his disciples at the Last Supper, Jesus says, “This is my blood of the covenant”—a scene rendered here by the Venetian artist Leandro Bassano (1557‒1622). Can archaeology possibly discover the kind of wine that was in Jesus’ cup?

According to authors Nicholas Rauh and Elizabeth Lyding Will, that wine may well have been a thick, sweet raisin wine called passum by the Romans. Not only does the Talmud mention raisin wine in connection with Jewish rituals, but amphoras used specifically to transport passum—the so-called Pinched-handle amphoras—have been found throughout Roman-period Palestine.