Prehistoric wine-making at Dikili Tash (Northern Greece): Integrating residue analysis and archaeobotany
N. Garnier, S. M. Valamoti
A new two-step analytical protocol has permitted the reliable structural identification of red wine thanks to the presence of dark grape (tartaric, malic, syringic acids) and fermentation markers (succinic and pyruvic acids) in a smashed, large, coarse jar and a jug excavated inside a Neolithic house destroyed by fire around 4300 BCE at the site of Dikili Tash in northern Greece. This new method, which has also been tested successfully on other vessels, exploits the chemical break-down of the clay and the simultaneous liberation and derivatization of biomarkers. Since aldaric acids are not extracted by a simple solvent extraction, but only when submitted to the second acido-catalyzed extraction, their detection in the second extract indicates organic residues are more deeply impregnated and bound to the clay structure than previously thought. Chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry leads to the very sensitive detection (<10 ng/g sherd for tartaric acid, i.e. < 10−6 mL of wine/g sherd) and reliable identification of fermented grape biomarkers. Their identification in a Neolithic jar from Dikili Tash corroborates the finding of pressed grapes consisting of loose pips, skins, and pips still enclosed by skin in association with this jar. Our results demonstrate Neolithic wine-making in the northern Aegean, and provide the earliest solid evidence for the Eastern Mediterranean and Europe. This new method could be more widely used for detecting wine traces in all sorts of archaeological artefacts or structures. It constitutes an essential tool for a better understanding of wine-making and of contexts of consumption in ancient civilizations.
L’apport des analyses chimiques organiques à la caractérisation des structures agricoles : le cas des installations oléicoles ou vinicoles et des espaces de stabulation
Identifier les traces de vin archéologique : des structures de production aux vases à boire. Un bilan des méthodologies et des apports de l’analyse chimique organiques
Y. Rabaste, C. Van Lyden, M. Brunet, N. Garnier, C. Sire
[...] Retrouvé dans le comblement supérieur, un dépôt d’objets a été placé dans l’angle sud-est de la structure. Sur les quinze pièces qui le composent, cinq correspondent à des vases en céramique et dix sont en alliage cuivreux. Hormis deux vases en céramique, les pièces étaient disposées dans un grand chaudron [ill. 2]. Outre l’importance locale de cette découverte, que le site d’Argentomagus n’avait pas connue depuis celle du Mercure en Bronze (aujourd’hui emblème du site), ce dépôt possède une importance scientifique, puisqu’il a fait l’objet d’un nouveau protocole d’extraction des composés organiques. Si des analyses sont régulièrement utilisées, il s’agit ici d’une première sur du mobilier métallique découvert in situ avant traitement.
M. Perra, F. Lo Schiavo, O. Fonzo, N. Garnier, P. Marinval
Summary – The giant’s tomb of the nuraghe Arrubiu in Orroli (CA), or “the grave of the sword” – The tomb Arrubiu 1 of Orroli is a ‘Giant’s Tomb’ with an orthostatic partly half-hypogeic chamber and with an exedra, similar to other funerary isodomic structures typical of centre-northern Sardinia in MBA 3-RBA. The presence of a fair number of objects is unusual in such tombs. To begin with there are more than 300 glass, faiënce and bone beads, probably arranged in necklaces, with parallels in Sardinia, in Italian Peninsula and in the mediterranean world in MBA 3-RBA.
Also the few vases – three small bowls and a small jar – are diagnostic for RBA, thanks to precise typological comparisons.
As to the bronze objects, the discovery of a complete votive sword, stuck in the bottom end of the chamber, is exceptional; moreover, a fragment of a second votive sword and two fragments of the horns of a bronze figurine of a deer were found in stratigraphical association, presumably to reconstruct as a “Hunting Magic”: here a unique occurrence because in a tomb and not in a temple.
The presence specifically of white wine was detected through the biochemical analyses carried out on the pots, siniadding a new document related to the nuragic funerary rituals in RBA. Nor animal bones nor carpological remains were found, with the exception of a single Vitis vinifera L. ssp. probably sylvestris seed.
Human bones were few and already disturbed in ancient times; there are analyses under way on the isotopes in order to determine the nutritional levels and the dating.
In conclusion, save for a small intrusive Roman pottery fragment, the context of the Tomb Arrubiu 1 is homogeneous and nothing may be dated to phases more recent than RBA.
Characterization of thermally assisted hydrolysis and methylation products of polyphenols from modern and archaeological vine derivatives using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry
Nicolas Garnier, Pascale Richardin, Véronique Cheynier, Martine Regert