The oldest known grape wine, from Iran

So far, the oldest known evidence of grape wine is about 7,000 years old, from a Neolithic settlement in Iran’s Zagros mountains, Hajji Firuz Tepe. Link, byMark Berkowitz.

wine-pot1

A  7,000 years old potsherd  came from one of six two-and-one-half-gallon jars came from the kitchen area of a mud-brick building in Hajji Firuz Tepe, a Neolithic village in Iran’s northern Zagros Mountains. A team from the University of Pennsylvania Museum found calcium salt from tartaric acid, which occurs naturally in large amounts only in grapes. Resin from the terebinth tree was also present, presumably used as a preservative, indicating that the wine was deliberately made and did not result from the unintentional fermentation of grape juice. It also suggests that the wine makers weren’t beginners, as adding preservative is something that will take time to figure out

Analysis of the Hajji Firuz Tepe sherd comes in the wake of two other recent discoveries of early wine-making in this region where grapes grow in the wild. Residue from a jar from Godin Tepe, in the nearby middle Zagros Mountains, was dated to 5,100 years ago, until now the earliest evidence of wine-making. Grape presses dating to the late third millennium B.C. have been found at Titris Höyük in southeastern Turkey.

I wonder… would drinking alcohol have been a survival advantage? The liquid would be sterile. Historically even children drank  ‘small beer’ ( a very weak beer) in England because it was safer.

3 responses to “The oldest known grape wine, from Iran

  1. Interesting, thanks.

    I don’t think alcohol gives any survival advantage, no drug (except maybe coca in the Andean highlands) does. Drugs are just part of our leisure, social and “religious” activities as humans and with all likehood they were elaborated and used before Neolithic with no particular practical purpose, other than enjoyement or spiritual learning.

    Even “lower animals” like drugs, though, unless stressed by situations like captivity, they consume them moderately.

    • I don’t know. In Europe the beer was a lot safer to drink than the water. It’s how they figured out cholera was water borne- none of the workers at the breweries used to catch it. I’d say that in big cities that may not have figured out sanitation well, alcohol might be a life saver. It wasn’t particularly strong either, just enough alcohol to make it sterile, it even used to be given to children.

      When in Kenya you I used watch the monkeys getting hammered to the point where they’d fall out of the trees on left over drinks, night after night. Don’t assume drug abuse is uniquely human

  2. When in Kenya you I used watch the monkeys getting hammered to the point where they’d fall out of the trees on left over drinks, night after night. Don’t assume drug abuse is uniquely human

    I don’t. But I read that certain animals in wild state do not abuse naturally occuring drugs but in captivity they do (if available, of course).

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