Studies Found The Secrets Of Ancient Roman Wine

Amphorae along a sea bed in the Red Sea. (Westend61/Getty Images)
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Amphorae along a sea bed in the Red Sea. (Westend61/Getty Images)

Highlights

  • According to jars found in the ocean close to the harbour of San Felice Circeo, winemakers along the Italian coast may have relied on locally grown grapes and imported tar pitches
  • Researchers were able to learn useful information about the methods used to make wine in this area

According to jars found in the ocean close to the harbour of San Felice Circeo, winemakers along the Italian coast may have relied on locally grown grapes and imported tar pitches during the Roman era.

Researchers were able to learn useful information about the methods used to make wine in this area in the second and first centuries BCE, a time period known as the late Greco-Italian. Three different wine jars, or amphorae, were found and analysed.
The research is particularly noteworthy since it goes beyond what would normally be feasible to learn about these jars by combining some of the most cutting-edge chemical analysis techniques with other methods utilised in archaeobotany.
Combining gas chromatography and mass spectrometry, two methods for identifying and separating chemical markers in a material, was one of the lab techniques employed here. In this instance, the technique was focused on the organic residue left in the jars.
Additionally, the researchers searched that residue for pollen particles. Although wine jars similar to these have been the subject of similar examination before, it has rarely been done with the aim of trying to comprehend the artifact's larger historical context.
While it is unclear whether or not indigenous flora were domesticated at the time, a detailed examination of the grapevine pollen revealed that the jars were used to create both red and white wine.
In the meantime, pine traces imply that it was employed to seal the jars and possibly also to flavour the wine. According to the experts, the tar pitch that contained the pine would have come from somewhere else, possibly from Sicily or Calabria, reported Sciencealert.
Other ceramics and artefacts have been discovered at the San Felice Circeo bay, which is 90 kilometres southeast of Rome. The region might have been near to a Roman canal, according to archaeologists.
Even though the researchers cannot be certain of all the findings they have made in their study, they have been able to advance because of the variety of interdisciplinary techniques employed to determine the chemical composition of what is still in these jars.
Furthermore, this entails going beyond chemical analysis to delve into the context of the objects' history, integrating chemical and botanical expertise with other historical and archaeological records, and earlier investigations into wine jars like these.
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