EXHIBIT: Uncorking Ancient Vintages

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Science  11 Jul 2003:
Vol. 301, Issue 5630, pp. 147
DOI: 10.1126/science.301.5630.147b

Imbibe the heady history of winemaking at this Web exhibit from the University of Pennsylvania's Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Patrick McGovern, an archaeologist at the museum, and colleagues detected the oldest-known chemical signature of wine in this roughly 7000-year-old jar unearthed at Hajji Firuz Tepe, a dig in the Zagros Mountains of Iran. Researchers don't know if early vintners were serving up a lush, elegant red or a cheeky white, but enthusiasm for wine flowed across the region. The ancient Egyptians provisioned their tombs with wine for the afterlife, and inscriptions on pottery show Mesopotamian royalty partying hearty with beer and what appears to be wine. McGovern plans to upgrade the 3-year-old site this fall by mixing in archaeological tidbits about other vintage winemaking areas, such as eastern Turkey and the Caucasus.


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