Palaeoethnobotany and the Archaeology of Wine

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About
The study of the botanical remains of grapes and wine residues found in archaeological excavations is something of a detective story in which small pieces of evidence are put together to build up a picture of the development of mankind’s use and, later, domestication of grapes.

The botanical evidence consists of the remains of vine leaves, berries, stems, and seeds or pips; sometimes even the roots, or the hollows left by them, may subsist too. Their recovery is the result of painstaking examination of archaeological deposits. Usually the finds of grape remains form a very small proportion of the total botanical material recovered, the bulk of which is usually the seeds of annual crops such as cereals, pulses, and oilseeds.