domingo, 31 de agosto de 2014

Wine cellar of Bronze Age Canaanite palace

Wine production, distribution, and consumption are thought to have played a role in the lives of those living in the Mediterranean and Near East during the Middle Bronze Age (1900-1600 BC). However, very little actual archaeological evidence is available about the role wine played during this period.
During a 2013 excavation of a Middle Bronze Age Canaanite palace in modern-day Israel carried out by Andrew Koh from Brandeis University and colleagues, 40 large storage vessels were found in an enclosed room located to the west of the central courtyard.
Tel Kabri is a 34-hectare site located in western Galilee, five kilometres east of Nahariya. During the Middle Bronze Age the site was the centre of a major Canaanite polity, with a palace covering at least 6,000 square metres, making it the largest palace from that period excavated so far in Israel.

A sophisticated understanding

An organic residue analysis using mass spectrometry revealed that all of the relatively uniform jars contained chemical compounds indicative of wine. The authors also detected subtle differences in the ingredients or additives within similarly shaped wine jars, including honey, storax resin, terebinth resin, cedar oil, cyperus, juniper, and possibly mint, myrtle, and cinnamon. The researchers suggest the detection of these additives indicates that humans at the time had a sophisticated understanding of plants and skills necessary to produce a complex beverage that balanced preservation, palatability, and psychoactivity. According to the authors, these results may contribute to a greater understanding of ancient viticulture and the Canaanite palatial economy.
Andrew Koh added, “Based on the nature of the room, it was anticipated from the beginning that residue samples extracted and studied under virtually identical circumstances with minimal variability would have the potential to reveal new and significant insights from both a scientific and archaeological perspective. We believe this study will not only change our understanding of ancient viticulture and palatial social practices, but also the manner in which we approach organic residue analysis (ORA) as an integrated, qualitative, and interdisciplinary exercise that is as field dependent as it is laboratory intensive.”

Source: Past Horizons:

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