archaeobotany brewing and winemaking in mediterranean basin and trans-CAUCASUS AREA
CNR istituto per le tecnologie applicate ai beni culturali - area della ricerca di roma 1,via salaria Km 29,500 p.o. box 10 -I- 00016 monterotondo st., roma, italy.
PHILOGENESIS OF THE Vitis DURING THE OLOCENE
The primitive Vitis at the end of Cenozoic (Rögl, F., 1999) was hermaphrodite, similar to the modern one. In the Phil genetic evolution the genetic hermaphroditic characters of the grapes became more evident (stamens plus anthers (male) which contain pollen, pistils with the ovary (female) for the development of seeds in the same flower). The advantages of this evolutionary line, that facilitates the reproduction, are obvious. During the Quaternary glaciations the wild grape, for the difficult climatic conditions, became dioecious in all the original area (Nùñez D.G. & Walker M.J., 1989) and the genders turned to be separate on various plants. Every individual still had in the flowers stamen and pistils, but, in the males, the maturation of one gene on the 38 chromosomes of the genetic equipment obstructed the development of the feminine organ (SuF). In the females the beginning of a recessive maturation prevented the development of male stamen (the SuM) (Walbot W, Cullis C.A., 1983).
In these conditions the crossing pollination is more difficult, as it must be helped from other external vectors (insects or atmospheric agents). In the dioecious shapes the male plant very rarely produces fruits, while the feminine fruit has a meaningful variability (morph biometry, aspect, sugar rate, proteins, acidity) caused by the genetic polymorphism of the plant. Normally the modern wild Euro Asiatic grapes produces small bitter fruits and with many seeds, not good for wine production. The sugar rate is low, meanwhile the acids one very high. The skin of fruit is hard and of dark black-red, very rarely white. (Vavilov N. I., 1950). While the cultivated Euro Asiatic grapes fruits show variable morph biometric characteristics, difficult to quantify. The grape can be of different dimensions with oblong or spherical morphology, and the anto cyanic colorations cover nearly all the chromatic spectrum. The sugar rates, acids and other less important chemical compounds have a well known variability (Maxted N., Ford-Loyd B.V. & Havkes J.G., 1997).
The domestication has been probably carried out selecting the plants that were at the primitive hermaphrodite level (Zohary D. & Hoff M., 2000), and showed regular and systematic fruit production, excluding the dioecious plants (spread for talea).
The wild Euro Asiatic grape occupies an area which extends for approximately 6000 Km squared from East to West, from central Asia to Spain, for approximately 1200 Km from South to North, from western Africa to northern Crimea (Unwin T., 1991).
Vavilov N.I. the Russian botanist, who founded the modern Geobotanic and Biodiversity, discovered in Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan some of the possible areas of origin and spread of the grape. Such width area, than extends from the Black Sea to the Caspian , is dominated by the Caucasus mountain (natural barrier between Europe and Asia). Its geomorphology is dominated by large valleys with moderated climate, between the rivers Kura and Arakas, which seem to supply the environmental conditions sweet able for the cultivation of grape (Lisitsina G.N. & Walker M.J., 1989). Moreover there are many vegetable species (more than 6000) which cohabit with the three main families of wild and domestic vitis vinifera.
The Vitis occidentalis is typical of central and western Europe, the Vitis orientalis of central Asia (Azerbaigian and Armenia) and the Vitis pontica of oriental Europe, southern Russia and Turkey. These ecotypes, described by the ampelografy (Vavilov N. I., 1950), are essentially distributed in different phito-climatic zones: the Vitis occidentalis tolerates cold climates and produces grapes of small dimension, with low levels of sugar and high acidity rate, the vitis pontica, has large grape acini and small seeds, while the vitis orientalis has moderate rate of sugar to low acidity.
Such classification shows various correlations between the families. In fact the cultivated varieties which come from the Vitis sativa DC, currently classified as vitis vinifera vinifera, origin from the Vitis sylvestris (C.C. GMELIN) HEGI (Levadoux L., Boubals D. & Rives M., 1962), currently classified like Vitis vinifera sylvestris.
THE MEDITERRANEAN REGION
One of the still unsolved problem regards the origin of the cultivate vines and their genetic relationship with the wild grapes. According to Levadoux L., the modern vines cultivate in Europe are the result of the glacial Quaternary pulsations towards the southern Mediterranean, including the great peninsulas, the great islands (Sicily, Sardinia, Cyprus, Creta and Corsica) and northern Africa (Rögl, F., 1999).
This hypothesis is in part different from the Vavilov’s one (1926-1930), who believed in a single origin of the grapevine. The currently cultivated vines are originated from the Vitis vinifera sylvestris (Mediterranean), and from the Euro Asiatic Vitis vinifera sativa (Rives 1962). According to the last genetic investigations (Maxted N., Ford-Loyd B.V. & Havkes J.G., 1997) they could be distinguish in wild Mediterranean vine grape (sylvestris) and a wild Caucasus type, from which comes most of the cultivated European vines. The morphologic diversities of (the Levadoux L., 1956) Vitis vinifera sativa and of the Vitis vinifera sylvestris, have been considered steps of evolution of the same type. The Vitis vinifera sylvestris, as cultivated specie started in Greece and Italy by an advanced human influence and for the good environmental conditions (Nùñez D.G. & Walker M.J., 1989).
In various Mediterranean sub areas the existence of populations of wild vines has been attested: Longo (1921), Franchini (1935), Neri (1937), Scienza (1983; 1985; 1988) Anzani ET al. (1989) in Italy, Logothetis (1962) in Greece, Levadoux L. in France, Turkovic (1962) in Slovenia and Croatia, Jacop, Alleweldt (1956) and Shumann (1977) in Turkey and Carreño And, Lopez M.A., (1988) in Spain (Informatore Botanico Italiano, 1999).
SHELTERED ENVIROMENT FAMILIES
Commonly in the Mediterranean areas the wild grapes has been observed in sheltered environments, inhabited by Salix, Popolus, Alnus and Ulmus (Pignatti S., 1976).
The sheltered environments could have various origins, some are ancient fluvial bights, others expansion basins. What joins these environments is the presence of sweet water that allows an elevated biodiversity, constituted mainly from rich aquatic vegetation and numerous animal species.
THE ISLAND FAMILY
The great islands of the Mediterranean currently have vegetation characterized by Mediterranean flora, deteriorated by the anthrop activity. The sea proximal areas are ever characterized by inhospitable soils (for the salt presence). The plants have developed a strong radical apparatus, and a crawling shape to resist to the wind (Lentini To, 1996). Generally the grape is located in the sub mountains Mediterranean surroundings, nearby marshes, lakes and rivers (Pignatti S., 1976).
By archaeobotanic literature we know that the Vitis vinifera silvestris is more ancient that one of the Vitis vinifera sativa. Archaeological investigations allowed to find in 1985, Palaeolithic remains of grape seeds near the Conca river (Rimini) (Bernabò Brea Cremaschi &, M. Cardarelli, 1997). Other macro rests have been finding during several diggings in the stilt houses of the Terramare (Bernabò Brea M. Cremaschi & Cardarelli M., 1985 - Forlani L., 1988-Nisbet R. & Rottoli M., 1997) in some Emilia Romagna prehistoric sites. More grape remains come from other archaeological contexts, until the Early Bronze in Tuscany (Fancelli Galletti M.L., 1974), Lazio (Celant To, Follieri M. & Magri D., 1996), Sardinia (Lentini To, 1997) and Puglia (Fiorentino G. & Magri D., 1999)
At Dimitra (Renfrew J.M., 1973) bronze age site, and in the prehistoric Franchti cave in Greece (Hansen J. M., 1991), the seeds of Vitis vinifera silvestris are earlier than the seeds of Vitis vinifera sativa, which appear later in the iron age.
Theophrastus calls the wild grapes Agria ampelos (IV-III cent. BC.), as Dioscuride (1 century BC) that it uses the same terminology to distinguish it from the Oenophoros ampelos, the cultivated grape. Virgilio in the "Eclogues" and Plinio the senior in its "Naturalis Historia" mention the Lambrusca grapes as wild.
Archaeometry and Archaeology.
The Smithsonian Institute (1965-1990) began, in 1960, the catalogue of the official and informatics Bibliography of the various multidisciplinary systems to characterize the organic material in ancient contexts, helping the invention of new methodologies and analytical instruments. Chemists, physics, biological and mathematical sciences, have therefore supplied to solve archaeological problems offering new possibilities. In particular in the last years chromatography, spectrometry, magnetic resonance, microscopes has been able to give advantage to archaeological investigations. The results obtained under the application of such technologies have given qualitative and quantitative measurements of ancient organic materials even from micrograms.
Many pigments, residual foods, drinks, ingredients for scents and therapeutic substances, founded in special archaeological contexts (dry environment, semi deserted or saturates of humidity, where the microbe activity and the self oxidation are reduced), in state of medium good conservation, could have been analyzed and characterized.
Wine production and consumption at Pyrgos-Mavroraki (CYPRUS)
Same grape seeds, coming from US Py04-f8l1, have been analyzed
( fig. 1)
. Such seeds have been found nearby some wine pottery. The first paleo palinologic tests made, in 04 US PY J4, from -180 to -230 cm, of Vitis sp. record a number of pollens sp
) Such presence suggests that in the site there were activities linked with agriculture and technological evolution for the production of a juice obtained intentionally from the grape and conserved after fermentation to drink.
The wine is one complex mixture, constituted by various organic compounds, among which aldhehydics, acids, alcohols, carbohydrates, proteins, polidro aromatics, vitamins, molecules between which tannins, anthocyanins, flavonoids (Pisani P.L., 1991). The great range of compounds increases the possibility of conservation of the perishable products in ancient contexts. The tartaric acid, in several territories of Mediterranean and the Near East, is present in elevates quantity only inside the grape.
Material and methodology
The sediments on the bottom of a vase, coming from the US Py04 F-g8- border 7, have been extracted (elutriation) with H2SO4 to 20 %, for ten minutes. Subsequently to the super floating it has been added 0,02 gr. of ss, ss' - dinaftolo (Feigl F., 1989). The obtained solution submitted to irradiation with UV lamp of 240-250 nanometres, assumed a green colour under the fluorescent rays. The green coloration of the solution reveals that it contains high rate of tartaric acid, typical of the wine produced in the Mediterranean area. In parallel a certified synthetic sample (Ultra Scientific Italy n° 325 Organic Standards in Organic Basic solution, Oeko-Tex Standard 100 ISO 9001) has been examined with the same procedures analytics of tartaric acid isomer present in nature, under shape of L-(+).
This technique (Colour Test) seems to be today one of the most efficiency in the study of organic archaeological remains. The same system has been used to analyze more residuals of some Middle Bronze Age vases coming from Pyrgos (Cyprus) with positive result. After the setting of the methodology other intact sediments coming from the bottom of wine amphorae of different period have been analyzes as at the Limassol Archaeological Museum as at the Cyprus Museum of Nicosia
( fig. 3
All the exanimate Cypriote samples gave positive results regarding the tartaric acid.
The glicolisi, or fermentation of the sugars is the natural production of energy for the maintenance of life. But every product deriving from the fermentation of organic material in aerobic environment transform itself in short time like the wine in vinegar. In particular, the juice of the grape ferments for the presence of natural yeast and tartaric acid, transforming own sugars in alcohol (Pisani P.L., 1991), until the alcoholic rate extinguishes the action of the yeast. The process therefore continues transforming the wine in vinegar.
Until the roman period the vinemakings didn’t know any inhibitor to arrest the process, as the sulfur (Seltmann C., 1989) and it is probable that various systems have been experimented to conserve the wine unaltered. Perhaps the more used system has been the resin. In the analytical investigations conduct on various tipologies of organic and inorganic materials from Pyrgos (2003-04), (& Lentini G. Scale, 2004) and in the samples taken inside pottery probably related to the wine, have been found resins of Coniferae, Pistacia sp. and Amygdalus communis L., probably used like inhibitors of the fermentation (Mllis J. & White R., 1989).
In particular the resin of turpentine tree (Pistacia terebinthus L.), characterized many times (Scale & Lentini G., 2004) to Pyrgos - Mavroraki (1900 a.C.), during the analyses and confermed by the presence of Pistacia terebinthus pollens in the stratigrafic section Py04 US PY J4, (-180 to -230 cm), is composed by groups of policiclici compounds (triterpenoidi). Such compositions are generally insaturi, and have the function of anti-oxidants. They are constituted from a fix units of isoprene, characterized by five atoms of carbon, that is the base of the “mastica”, the natural gum, (chew) (Pedretti M., 1997), used still today to cure pathologies of the digesting apparatus (Marone P., Bono L., Lion And, Bona S., Carretto And & Perversi L., 2001).
The turpentine instead is obtained under boiling the resin, taken from the Pistacia terebinthus L. (turpentine of Cyprus or Chio), typical of the fitocinosis of Cyprus (Zohary M., 1973). The turpentine has been always used in the production of the resin wines (Mllis J. & White R., 1989). The extractive process consisted in the boiling of the resin in water. Subsequently, after the cooling, it was filtered with vegetable cloth, and the accumulation of the resin emanated scent of finocchio (Benign happened R., Goat C. & Cattorini P.E., 1997). The essence could be used also blended with other scents.
The biodiversity of several environments from which the greater sources of documentation on the origin and the spread of the Vitis vinifera sylvestris and Vitis vinifera sativa come, present a series of acclimatize and chronological problems. The terms of comparison, between the countries of the Mediterranean and the Tran Caucasus, possess many contrasts for the number and the quality of the produced documentation (typology of the manufactory ones, palaeontology, dating, survey, geomorphology, sediment logy, archeobotanic, archeometry, conservation and restoration). In fact the Mediterranean sites, representing various periods and environments, with punctual attestations and chronology, while, the Transcaucasus area documentation appears fragmented as for the processing as for the chronology. It makes exception the important job of Vavilov N.I., and the immense archaeological and archaeometric documentation of the Turks sites of Malatya (Palmieri To, 1978), Arslantepe, Can Hassan (Hillman G.C., 1972) and Cayonu Tepesi (Miller N.F., 1991) (Frangipane M., Hauptmann H., Liverani M., Matthiae M. & Mellink M., 1993).
The comparison between the preliminary analytical results of Pyrgos and Erimi and the evidences coming from the analyses of Godin Tepè in Iran (Weiss H. & Young J.R. T.C., 1975 - Biers W. R. & McGovern P., 1990 - Badler V., 1991) is of particular archeometric interest. In fact, in both cases, the analytics procedures employed substantially agree, even if in the case of Godin Tepe the analyzed material has been characterized also with spectroscopy Ft-it/atr (Biers W. R. & McGovern P., 1990). However it should be considered the fact that the fragments of Godin Tepe pottery come from the same jar (dated between the 3100 - 2900 a.C.), while the organic residuals from Cyprus come from 23 different objects found in four sites.
Of these, 16 come from Erimi, Chalcolitich jars (half of IV the millenium BC, Museum of Limassol), 5 from Pyrgos-Mavroraki (beginning II millenium BC, Museum of Limassol), 1 from Vounous, Kyrenia (drinking horn of 2000 BC, Cyprus Museum) and 1 from Soskiou (3000 BC, Cyprus Museum, Nicosia). As under the statistical aspect as under the qualitative aspect the Cypriote tests seem more concrete and they refer to a large chronological arch supported by a significative evolution of the pottery destined to the wine.
I thank prof. Francesco Spada of the Department of Biology of the University of Rome " La Sapienza" for the suggestions and the critical reading. A special thank is for prof. Giuseppe Scala of the Chemicsand Merceology Laboratory of the University of Florence, for the control of the Feigl method, and for Sara Elifani, MAE scholarship to the Italian Archaeological Mission of Pyrgos-Mavroraki (ITABC-CNR Roma), for the help during the selection of the archaeobotanic materials.