In Armenian Cave, Ancient Evidence of Winemaking
Turns out we loved our wine at least 6,100 years ago
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 11, 2011 10:36 AM CST
This undated handout photo provided by National Geographic shows a wine press, behind which an archaeological identification kit is placed, In Armenia.   (AP Photo/Gregory Areshian, National Geographic)

(Newser) – Uncork a bottle of Pinot Noir and toast the wonders of archaeology: Scientists have reportedly discovered a 6,100-year-old winemaking operation—the oldest ever. Found in an Armenian cave where the oldest-known leather shoe was recently discovered, the "fairly large-scale operation" consists of a fermentation vat, a press, storage jars, a clay bowl, and a cup fashioned from an animal horn. A chemical analysis of grape seeds, pressed grapes, and residue found reveals that it was once used to make red wine.

The cave is turning out to be a veritable treasure trove of items from the Copper Age—the period when humans are believed to have invented inconsequential little things like the wheel—thanks to its layers of sheep dung, which have helped preserved its artifacts. Burial sites were seen near the operation, leading scientists to speculate that the wine was used for ritual purposes, reports the New York Times.

 

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