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Wine - Historical Overview

In: Social Issues

Submitted By damirsfist
Words 3990
Pages 16
Wine - historical & Archaeological OVERVIEW


Archeological studies of alcohol can provide deep insight into societies past and present. Around the world and throughout time, humans demonstrate a nearly universal proclivity towards alcoholic beverages. As cultural anthropologist David Mandelbaum writes, cultural attitudes towards alcohol vary around the world from adoration to proscription of drink, but there are few cultures [1]that completely ignore alcohol (Mandelbaum 1965: 281). Distillation of hard spirits happened only in recent times and for much of human history, wine and beer[2] were the only alcoholic beverages available for common consumption (if a bar or tavern was present in a particular culture). Archeological evidence shows that while during the last 10,000 years alcohol consumption was common, it was also uniquely culturally contextual.

Dutch archeologist Marijke Van der Veen claims that “[studying] the production, preparation, consumption, and disposal can help identify the social context of food” (Van der Veen 2006: 407). A more traditional archeological approach focuses less on the production of food due to its “transient nature”.[3]

Ethnographic research can provide more information about consumption practices as can historic sources, but we need more information from actual artifacts found at sites around the world. With artifacts, we can provide a more conclusive picture of how different cultures produced, consumed, valued or tabooed, alcohol.

Analysis of residues on ceramics provides valuable knowledge about food production practices and trade. However, it is important not to neglect other links in the chain of human food and drink use, most notably consumption itself, the facet of culture we know the least about.


There is ample evidence of small-scale fruit...

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