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Ancient Wine: The Search for the Origins of Viniculture

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Ancient Wine: The Search for the Origins of Viniculture Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"I raise my glass to Patrick McGovern, who mixes authoritative knowledge of ancient viniculture with inspired writing into a heady drink for the mind. This is a beautifully written book, full of insight into the origins, culture, and economy of wine."--Roald Hoffmann, Cornell University, 1981 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry

"Patrick McGovern serves us a magnificent feast of science and history that melds sophisticated chemistry with good, old-fashioned historical sleuthing. His innovative research has revolutionized our knowledge of the origins of one of humanity's greatest pleasures. This is an archaeological and gustatory delight for specialist and general reader alike."--Brian Fagan, University of California, Santa Barbara, author of The Little Ice Age

"Ancient Wine tells a dramatic, factual story of wine's beginnings at the dawn of civilization 8,000 years ago, bringing to life what I have long believed-wine has been an essential part of the gracious way of life for many cultures. Patrick McGovern takes us on a fascinating journey back to the first experiments in making this marvelous beverage. He shows the central role of wine in human history, with insights drawn from archeology, chemistry, gastronomy, and the arts. Ancient Wine will please everyone who enjoys wine. I heartily recommend it."--Robert Mondavi, winemaker

"What a great book! Patrick McGovern takes us along for the ride as he searches for the origins of modern wine. This is a very personal, engagingly written story, and we're privileged to watch over McGovern's shoulder as he unravels the mysteries of ancient vines and wines."--Rod Phillips, author of A Short History of Wine

"Told with enthusiasm and verve, Ancient Wine is an illuminating discussion of an important area of research. It represents a substantial contribution to our understanding of the nature of consumption in early urban societies, and draws together investigations of some of the outstanding pieces of evidence that are of prime relevance to the story."--Andrew Sherratt, author of Economy and Society in Prehistoric Europe

Synopsis:

"I raise my glass to Patrick McGovern, who mixes authoritative knowledge of ancient viniculture with inspired writing into a heady drink for the mind. This is a beautifully written book, full of insight into the origins, culture, and economy of wine."--Roald Hoffmann, Cornell University, 1981 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry

"Patrick McGovern serves us a magnificent feast of science and history that melds sophisticated chemistry with good, old-fashioned historical sleuthing. His innovative research has revolutionized our knowledge of the origins of one of humanity's greatest pleasures. This is an archaeological and gustatory delight for specialist and general reader alike."--Brian Fagan, University of California, Santa Barbara, author of The Little Ice Age

"Ancient Wine tells a dramatic, factual story of wine's beginnings at the dawn of civilization 8,000 years ago, bringing to life what I have long believed-wine has been an essential part of the gracious way of life for many cultures. Patrick McGovern takes us on a fascinating journey back to the first experiments in making this marvelous beverage. He shows the central role of wine in human history, with insights drawn from archeology, chemistry, gastronomy, and the arts. Ancient Wine will please everyone who enjoys wine. I heartily recommend it."--Robert Mondavi, winemaker

"What a great book! Patrick McGovern takes us along for the ride as he searches for the origins of modern wine. This is a very personal, engagingly written story, and we're privileged to watch over McGovern's shoulder as he unravels the mysteries of ancient vines and wines."--Rod Phillips, author of A Short History of Wine

"Told with enthusiasm and verve, Ancient Wine is an illuminating discussion of an important area of research. It represents a substantial contribution to our understanding of the nature of consumption in early urban societies, and draws together investigations of some of the outstanding pieces of evidence that are of prime relevance to the story."--Andrew Sherratt, author of Economy and Society in Prehistoric Europe

Synopsis:

The history of civilization is, in many ways, the history of wine. This book is the first comprehensive and up-to-date account of the earliest stages of vinicultural history and prehistory, which extends back into the Neolithic period and beyond. Elegantly written and richly illustrated, Ancient Wine opens up whole new chapters in the fascinating story of wine and the vine by drawing upon recent archaeological discoveries, molecular and DNA sleuthing, and the texts and art of long-forgotten peoples.

Patrick McGovern takes us on a personal odyssey back to the beginnings of this consequential beverage when early hominids probably enjoyed a wild grape wine. We follow the course of human ingenuity in domesticating the Eurasian vine and learning how to make and preserve wine some 7,000 years ago. Early winemakers must have marveled at the seemingly miraculous process of fermentation. From success to success, viniculture stretched out its tentacles and entwined itself with one culture after another (whether Egyptian, Iranian, Israelite, or Greek) and laid the foundation for civilization itself. As medicine, social lubricant, mind-altering substance, and highly valued commodity, wine became the focus of religious cults, pharmacopoeias, cuisines, economies, and society. As an evocative symbol of blood, it was used in temple ceremonies and occupies the heart of the Eucharist. Kings celebrated their victories with wine and made certain that they had plenty for the afterlife. (Among the colorful examples in the book is McGovern's famous chemical reconstruction of the funerary feast--and mixed beverage--of "King Midas.") Some peoples truly became "wine cultures."

When we sip a glass of wine today, we recapitulate this dynamic history in which a single grape species was harnessed to yield an almost infinite range of tastes and bouquets. Ancient Wine is a book that wine lovers and archaeological sleuths alike will raise their glasses to.

About the Author

Patrick E. McGovern is a Senior Research Scientist in the Museum Applied Science Center for Archaeology (MASCA) and is Adjunct Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. The author or editor of eight other books on archaeology and archaeological science, over the past two decades he has pioneered the emerging field of biomolecular archaeology.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations xi

Preface xv

1. Stone Age Wine 1

Sifting Fact from Legend 3

Man Meets Grape: The Paleolithic Hypothesis 7

Whence the Domesticated Eurasian Grapevine? 11

When and Where Was Wine First Made? 14

2. The Noah Hypothesis 16

Genetics and Gilgamesh 16

Transcaucasia: The Homeland of Viniculture? 19

Exploring Georgia and Armenia 21

Ancient DNA 25

Casting a Wider Net in Anatolia 29

The Indo-European Homeland 30

"Noah's Flood" 35

Farther Afield 37

3. The Archaeological and Chemical Hunt for the Earliest Wine 40

Godin Tepe 40

Molecular Archaeology Comes of Age 48

Identifying the Godin Tepe Jar Residues by Infrared Spectrometry 51

Archaeological Inference 54

From Grape Juice to Wine to Vinegar 55

Winemaking at the Dawn of Civilization 58

The First Wine Rack? 60

A Symposium in the True Sense of the Word 61

4. Neolithic Wine! 64

A Momentous Innovation 65

Liquid Chromatography: Another Tool of Molecular Archaeology 68

Ancient Retsina: A Beverage and a Medicine 70

A Media Barrage 72

Wild or Domesticated Grapes? 74

More Neolithic Wine Jars from Transcaucasia 74

Creating a Ferment in Neolithic Turkey: A Hypothesis to Be Tested 78

5. Wine of the Earliest Pharaohs 85

A Royal Industry Par Excellence 85

An Amazing Discovery from a Dynasty 0 Royal Tomb 91

Ancient Yeast DNA Discovered 103

6. Wine of Egypt's Golden Age 107

The Hyksos: A Continuing Taste for Levantine Wines 107

Festival Wine at the Height of the New Kingdom 120

Wine as the Ultimate Religious Expression 134

Wines of the Heretic King, Akhenaten, and of Tutankhamun 137

The Vineyard of Egypt under the Ramessides 141

7. Wine of the World's First Cities 148

A Beer-Drinking Culture Only? 149

Banqueting the Mesopotamian Way 158

Wine, Too, Was Drunk in the Lowland Cities 160

Transplanting the Grapevine to Shiraz 164

8. Wine and the Great Empires of the Ancient Near East 167

Wine Down the Tigris and Euphrates 168

Wines of Anatolia and the Lost Hittite Empire 174

Assyrian Expansionism: Cupbearers, Cauldrons, and Drinking Horns 188

The Fine Wines of Aram and Phoenicia 201

Eastward to Persia and China 206

9. The Holy Land's Bounty 210

Winepresses in the Hills, and Towers and Vineyards in the Wadi Floors 212

The Success of the Experiment 217

Serving the Needs of a Cosmopolitan Society 220

Wine for the Kings and the Masses 225

Dark Reds and Powerful Browns 233

Wine: A Heritage of the Judeo-Christian Tradition 236

10. Lands of Dionysos: Greece and Western Anatolia 239

Drinking the God 240

A Minoan Connection? The Earliest Greek Retsina 247

Wine Mellowed with Oak 259

"Greek Grog": A Revolution in Beverage Making 262

Wine and "Greek Grog" during the Heroic Age 268

11. A Beverage for King Midas and at the Limits of the Civilized World 279

King Midas and "Phrygian Grog" 279

Re-creating an Ancient Anatolian Beverage and Feast 293

To the Hyperborean Regions of the North: "European Grog" 296

12. Molecular Archaeology, Wine, and a View to the Future 299

Where It All Began 299

Consumed by Wine 302

Why Alcohol and Why Wine? 305

The Lowly Yeast to the Forefront 307

Mixing Things Up 308

Wine, the Perfect Metaphor 312

Selected Bibliography 317

Illustration Credits and Object Dimensions 329

Index 335

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691127842
Subtitle:
The Search for the Origins of Viniculture
Author:
Mcgovern, Patrick E.
Foreword by:
Mondavi, Robert G.
Foreword:
Mondavi, Robert G.
Author:
Mondavi, Robert G.
Author:
McGovern, Patrick E.
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Location:
Princeton
Subject:
History
Subject:
Ancient - General
Subject:
Beverages - Wine & Spirits
Subject:
Wine & Spirits
Subject:
Archaeology and Ancient History
Subject:
Classics
Subject:
Anthropology
Subject:
Anthropology - General
Subject:
World History-Ancient History
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
January 2007
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
Language:
English
Illustrations:
16 color illus. 35 halftones. 9 line ill
Pages:
400
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Cooking and Food » Beverages » Bartending and Liquor
Cooking and Food » Beverages » Wine » General
Cooking and Food » Beverages » Wine » Wines of the World
Cooking and Food » Beverages » Wines and Beer
Cooking and Food » Reference and Etiquette » Historical Food and Cooking
History and Social Science » World History » Ancient History

Ancient Wine: The Search for the Origins of Viniculture New Trade Paper
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Product details 400 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691127842 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , "I raise my glass to Patrick McGovern, who mixes authoritative knowledge of ancient viniculture with inspired writing into a heady drink for the mind. This is a beautifully written book, full of insight into the origins, culture, and economy of wine."--Roald Hoffmann, Cornell University, 1981 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry

"Patrick McGovern serves us a magnificent feast of science and history that melds sophisticated chemistry with good, old-fashioned historical sleuthing. His innovative research has revolutionized our knowledge of the origins of one of humanity's greatest pleasures. This is an archaeological and gustatory delight for specialist and general reader alike."--Brian Fagan, University of California, Santa Barbara, author of The Little Ice Age

"Ancient Wine tells a dramatic, factual story of wine's beginnings at the dawn of civilization 8,000 years ago, bringing to life what I have long believed-wine has been an essential part of the gracious way of life for many cultures. Patrick McGovern takes us on a fascinating journey back to the first experiments in making this marvelous beverage. He shows the central role of wine in human history, with insights drawn from archeology, chemistry, gastronomy, and the arts. Ancient Wine will please everyone who enjoys wine. I heartily recommend it."--Robert Mondavi, winemaker

"What a great book! Patrick McGovern takes us along for the ride as he searches for the origins of modern wine. This is a very personal, engagingly written story, and we're privileged to watch over McGovern's shoulder as he unravels the mysteries of ancient vines and wines."--Rod Phillips, author of A Short History of Wine

"Told with enthusiasm and verve, Ancient Wine is an illuminating discussion of an important area of research. It represents a substantial contribution to our understanding of the nature of consumption in early urban societies, and draws together investigations of some of the outstanding pieces of evidence that are of prime relevance to the story."--Andrew Sherratt, author of Economy and Society in Prehistoric Europe

"Synopsis" by , The history of civilization is, in many ways, the history of wine. This book is the first comprehensive and up-to-date account of the earliest stages of vinicultural history and prehistory, which extends back into the Neolithic period and beyond. Elegantly written and richly illustrated, Ancient Wine opens up whole new chapters in the fascinating story of wine and the vine by drawing upon recent archaeological discoveries, molecular and DNA sleuthing, and the texts and art of long-forgotten peoples.

Patrick McGovern takes us on a personal odyssey back to the beginnings of this consequential beverage when early hominids probably enjoyed a wild grape wine. We follow the course of human ingenuity in domesticating the Eurasian vine and learning how to make and preserve wine some 7,000 years ago. Early winemakers must have marveled at the seemingly miraculous process of fermentation. From success to success, viniculture stretched out its tentacles and entwined itself with one culture after another (whether Egyptian, Iranian, Israelite, or Greek) and laid the foundation for civilization itself. As medicine, social lubricant, mind-altering substance, and highly valued commodity, wine became the focus of religious cults, pharmacopoeias, cuisines, economies, and society. As an evocative symbol of blood, it was used in temple ceremonies and occupies the heart of the Eucharist. Kings celebrated their victories with wine and made certain that they had plenty for the afterlife. (Among the colorful examples in the book is McGovern's famous chemical reconstruction of the funerary feast--and mixed beverage--of "King Midas.") Some peoples truly became "wine cultures."

When we sip a glass of wine today, we recapitulate this dynamic history in which a single grape species was harnessed to yield an almost infinite range of tastes and bouquets. Ancient Wine is a book that wine lovers and archaeological sleuths alike will raise their glasses to.

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