Trace Analysis of Wine from 6000 BC
College of Arts and Sciences
Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
Dr. Michael P. Callahan
The Neolithic (10,000-3,500 BC) was the age of achievement and expansion. This period represented a transition where food-collecting cultures shifted to food-producing ones, which allowed people to establish year round settlements. Many plants were domesticated including the Eurasian grape, which is believed to be the first grape used to ferment wine. There is an ongoing archeological dig in the Republic of Georgia to investigate the earliest winemaking and the emergence of wine culture as part of the Gadachrili Gora Regional Archaeological Project Excavations (G.R.A.P.E.). Sherds of pottery jars excavated from the dig site, along with corresponding soil samples, were analyzed for the presence of four characteristic grape/wine acids (tartaric acid, citric acid, malic acid, and succinic acid) by high performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. All four acids were detected in trace amounts in every sample; however, there was no significant difference in the amount of acids found in the sherd samples versus the soil samples. As a result, we could not verify the presence of wine in these particular archaeological sherds.
Farrar, Kim, "Trace Analysis of Wine from 6000 BC" (2019). 2019 Undergraduate Research and Scholarship Conference. 44.