Palaeoethnobotany and the Archaeology of Wine
: Ancient biomolecules

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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In 2003, scientists at the Botanical Garden of Geneva, Switzerland, were able to analyse for the first time by dna profiling a tiny amount of DNA from waterlogged and charred grape pips recovered from archaeological sites in France (Iron Age and Greek period, 5th century bc) and Hungary (Roman times, 2nd to 4th centuries ad). These remains could not be matched to any modern cultivar, but they could be assigned to their most likely geographic origin. DNA profiling of additional grape remains from archaeological sites as well as comparison between wild and cultivated grapes throughout the distribution of vinifera in the future might shed some new light on the place and time of the first domestication of grapes.