Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Archaeologists uncork oldest wine press discovery

Wine's time with humankind goes back more than 6,000 years, reports an archaeology team from Armenia.
Visiting the excavations of the Areni-1 cave complex in Armenia, archaeologist Levon Petrosyan contemplates the 6,100-year-old wine-making equipment discovered by an international project co-directed by Boris Gasparyan, Gregory Areshian and Ron Pinhasi.

Discovered in the Areni-1 cave near the Iranian border, a team led by UCLA archaeologist Hans Barnard, details of the ancient wine press find appear in an upcoming Journal of Archaeological Science. The study reports discovery of a wine vat, wine-stained pots and grape remains, as well as a drinking bowl, located near a cemetery inside the cave.

"We believe the wine was made there for ritual activity," says UCLA's Gregory Areshian, co-director of the excavation site. "But the people living outside the cave in the region likely made wine all the time," he says, based on the evidence of the expertise needed to craft the wine vats and pots.

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