Investigating the Ancient Egyptian wines: The wine jars database
In Ancient Egypt, wine was a luxury product consumed mainly by the upper classes and the royal family and offered to gods in daily religious rituals in the temples.
Since the Predynastic (4000-3100 BC) period, wine jars were placed in tombs as funerary offerings. From the Old Kingdom (2680-2160 BC) to the Greco-Roman (332 BC-395 AD) period, viticulture and winemaking scenes were depicted on the private tombs’ walls. During the New Kingdom (1539-1075 BC), wine jars were inscribed to indicate: vintage year, product, quality, provenance, property and winemaker’s name and title. The inscriptions reveal that the ancient Egyptians considered this information relevant and necessary to be able to distinguish between wines.
Interdisciplinary research on Ancient Egyptian wines included several studies and projects: [1,2] the study of the colour of wine and the origin of the Shedeh, the corpus of viticulture and winemaking scenes in the ancient Egyptian tombs and the archaeological map with the location, among others.
To explore how the Egyptian wines were made, the wine jars typology and production is investigated, and the wine inscriptions to know the ancient winemaking procedures. Moreover, through the study of the main concentration of the Egyptian wine jars from the Pre-dynastic to the New Kingdom period and the research in the museums archives (Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Ahsmolean in Oxford, British Museum in London, Louvre in Paris), the database of the wine jars and wine inscriptions has been created.
The Ancient Egyptian wine jars database and the archaeological map of Egypt with the location of each item will be presented, and it will available in the dedicated website [www.wineofancientegypt.com].
To transfer the knowledge and disseminate the scientific research results, we are also developing a virtual exhibition on the Ancient Egyptian wine culture.
1) Guasch-Jané M.R. (2016) An Interdisciplinary Study on the Ancient Egyptian Wines: The Egywine Project. M Ioannides, et al. (eds.) Proceedings of the 6th International Conference EUROMED 2016, Nicosia (Cyprus) October 31-November 5 2016, Digital Heritage. Progress in Cultural Heritage: Documentation, Preservation and Protection, EuroMed 2016, Part I, LNCS 10058: 737–748, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-48496-9_59
2) Guasch-Jané M.R. (2019) Grape Archaeology and Ancient DNA Sequencing. In: Cantu D., Walker M. (eds) The Grape Genome. Compendium of Plant Genomes. Springer, Cham: 57-75, DOI 10.1007/978-3-030-18601-2_4
Issue: ICGWS 2023
1Mondes pharaoniques (UMR 8167‘Orient et Méditerranée’), Sorbonne University
2Prehistory and Archaeology department, University of Barcelona
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Ancient Egypt, archaeological map, database, winemaking, wine inscriptions, wine jars