Early Neolithic wine of Georgia in the South Caucasus

Patrick McGovern, Mindia Jalabadze, Stephen Batiuk, Michael P. Callahan, Karen E. Smith, Gretchen R. Hall, Eliso Kvavadze, David Maghradze, Nana Rusishvili, Laurent Bouby, Osvaldo Failla, Gabriele Cola, Luigi Mariani, Elisabetta Boaretto, Roberto Bacilieri, Patrice This, Nathan Wales, David Lordkipanidze

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

197 Scopus citations

Abstract

Chemical analyses of ancient organic compounds absorbed into the pottery fabrics from sites in Georgia in the South Caucasus region, dating to the early Neolithic period (ca. 6,000–5,000 BC), provide the earliest biomolecular archaeological evidence for grape wine and viniculture from the Near East, at ca. 6,000–5,800 BC. The chemical findings are corroborated by climatic and environmental reconstruction, together with archaeobotanical evidence, including grape pollen, starch, and epidermal remains associated with a jar of similar type and date. The very large-capacity jars, some of the earliest pottery made in the Near East, probably served as combination fermentation, aging, and serving vessels. They are the most numerous pottery type at many sites comprising the so-called “Shulaveri-Shomutepe Culture” of the Neolithic period, which extends into western Azerbaijan and northern Armenia. The discovery of early sixth millennium BC grape wine in this region is crucial to the later history of wine in Europe and the rest of the world.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E10309-E10318
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume114
Issue number48
DOIs
StatePublished - 28 Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Georgia
  • Near East
  • Neolithic
  • Viticulture
  • Wine

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