By Patrick McGovern
, the Scientific Director of the Biomolecular Archaeology Laboratory for Cuisine, Fermented Beverages, and Health at the University of Pennsylvania Museum in Philadelphia, where he is also an Adjunct Professor of Anthropology. In the popular imagination, he is known as the "Indiana Jones of Ancient Ales, Wines, and Extreme Beverages."
"THE FIRST WINE: AN ARCHAEOCHEMICAL DETECTIVE STORY"
Wine, the premier fermented beverage of Mediterranean and Near Eastern civilizations, was likely discovered and enjoyed early in human prehistory. Although the organic evidence of these unique beverages, with their special dietary benefits and psychotropic effects, has largely disappeared, highly sensitive techniques now make it possible to identify chemical compounds that are specific to wine. Our earliest finding is that the Neolithic villagers of the northern Zagros mountains of Iran were making wine and...