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Winery

Researchers discover oldest yet known remains of winery in Armenia

Saturday, January 15, 2011 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: winery, Armenia, health news


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(NaturalNews) Archeologists from the University of California, Los Angeles, (UCLA) recently uncovered an ancient wine-making facility in an Armenian cave that they say dates back roughly 6,000 years. The facility -- complete with wine press, fermentation vats, storage containers, utensils and even preserved grape seeds and other organic grape materials -- is now the oldest known wine press ever discovered.

The materials in the cave were uniquely well-preserved because a layer of sheep manure had fossilized the remains and protected them from mold, fungi and various other destructive forces that would have long since destroyed them. But thanks to the concrete-like layer of dung, researchers were able to catch a glimpse of ancient history in a new and unique way.

"Because of this unique preservation, we find all of these previously unknown but imagined organic materials," explained archeologist Gregory Areshian from UCLA's Cotsen Institute of Archeology, and co-leader of the expedition, to the Los Angeles Times. Among these organic materials were withered grape vines, grape seeds and even preserved remnants of pressed grapes.

From the looks of the setup, the ancient folk pressing the grapes did so with their feet in a moderately-sized pressing vat. And because the various storage found tanks were relatively small, archeologists suspect that this particular wine-making facility was specifically designed for ceremonies involving the burial of the dead, and not for recreational drinking.

"The site is very important because it is so early and shows how advanced they already were," said biomolecular archaeologist Patrick McGovern from the University of Pennsylvania concerning the study. "The fact that winemaking was already so well developed in 4,000 B.C. suggests that the technology probably goes back much earlier."

The earliest known evidence of any sort of winemaking dates back to roughly 5,400 B.C. in the Zagros Mountains of the Middle East, where jars with residue of tartaric acid have previously been found.

Sources for this story include:

http://www.latimes.com/news/science/la-sci-a...

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