Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Earliest Winery Discovered in Armenia

From the Associated Press:

The earliest known winery has been uncovered in a cave in the mountains of Armenia.

A vat to press the grapes, fermentation jars and even a cup and drinking bowl dating to about 6,000 years ago were discovered in the cave complex by an international team of researchers.

While older evidence of wine drinking has been found, this is the earliest example of complete wine production, according to Gregory Areshian of the University of California, Los Angeles, co-director of the excavation.

The findings, announced Tuesday by the National Geographic Society, are published in the online edition of the Journal of Archaeological Science.

"The evidence argues convincingly for a wine-making facility," said Patrick McGovern, scientific director of the Biomolecular Archaeology Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania Museum in Philadelphia, who was not part of the research team.

Such large scale wine production implies that the Eurasian grape had already been domesticated, said McGovern, author of "Uncorking the Past: The Quest for Wine, Beer, and Other Alcoholic Beverages."

The full article is here.  The National Geographic News article has more details and a larger photo.  Some reports have noted the proximity of this discovery to the traditional place where the Ark landed and Noah planted a vineyard (Gen 9:20).

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