We’ve been get­ting boozy for 8000 years

NT News - - WORLD -

TBIL­ISI: TALK about vin­tage wine – pieces of bro­ken pottery found in the na­tion of Ge­or­gia pro­vide the ear­li­est known ev­i­dence for the ori­gins of to­day’s wine­mak­ing in­dus­try.

The eight shards, re­cov­ered from two sites about 50km south of Tbil­isi, are roughly 8000 years old. That’s some 600 to 1000 years older than the pre­vi­ous record, re­vealed by a wine jar found in nearby Iran.

“Al­co­hol had an im­por­tant role in so­ci­eties in the past just as to­day,” says study au­thor and Univer­sity of Toronto ar­chae­ol­o­gist Stephen Batiuk.

“Wine is cen­tral to civil­i­sa­tion as we know it in the west,” Batiuk added. “As a medicine, so­cial lu­bri­cant, mind-al­ter­ing sub­stance and highly val­ued com­mod­ity, wine be­came the fo­cus of re­li­gious cults, phar­ma­copoeias, cuisines, economies and so­ci­ety in the an­cient Near East.”

This is not the old­est sign of wine­mak­ing; other ev­i­dence shows that a bev­er­age that mixed grape wine with rice beer and other in­gre­di­ents was pro­duced as long as 9000 years ago in China.

Pic­ture: AP/NATIONAL MU­SEUM OF GE­OR­GIA

This photo by the National Mu­seum of Ge­or­gia shows an 8cm shard of a pottery ves­sel, about 8000 years old, found south of Tb­lisi, Ge­or­gia. Pa­trick McGovern of the Penn Mu­seum in Philadel­phia says the pieces had come from the base of jars that were prob­a­bly used for fer­men­ta­tion and stor­age of wine

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