4200 B.C.E.: A Fine Vintage

Archaeologists uncover Greece’s oldest wine residue

Excavations at Dikili Tash have uncovered wine residue from the fifth millennium B.C.E. Photo: 18th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquity.

Archaeologists excavating the prehistoric settlement Dikili Tash in northern Greece uncovered what may be Europe’s oldest wine samples. Residue analysis on the contents of 6,200-year-old ceramics revealed tartaric acid, indicating fermentation, according to a recent article in The Huffington Post.

Wine and winemaking are well attested in the ancient world. Wine residue dating back some 7,000 years has been uncovered in Iran. Excavations in southern Armenia, near the Iranian border, have uncovered grape seeds, the remains of grape vines and pressed grapes, a wine press, a clay collection/fermentation vat, potsherds with wine residue, as well as a cup and a bowl dating around 4100 B.C.E. In the Bronze Age, wine was a major trade good in the eastern Mediterranean. While the importance of alcohol production and consumption in the ancient world is well attested, the recent discovery at Dikili Tash places Europe’s earliest vintage centuries earlier than previously known.

Read Did This Winery Get Noah Drunk? in Bible History Daily.

BAS Library Members: Read Did the Ancient Israelites Drink Beer? by Michael M. Homan as it appeared in the September/October 2010 issue of BAR.

Not a BAS Library member yet? Join the BAS Library today.

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