The Origins and Ancient History of Wine

By Patrick E. McGovern; Stuart J. Fleming et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 4

The Archaeological Evidence for Winemaking, Distribution and Consumption at Proto-Historic Godin Tepe, Iran

Virginia R. Badler

The bones of the last meal had been discarded in the corner of the room. Fragments of wheat littered the floor. The wine had been completely consumed-remnants of the residue left a stale perfume which hung in the air. The embers of the hearth were dying down as they prepared to leave. But where was the necklace? The necklace, of precious stone beads, remained lost in the black darkness of the room as its inhabitants passed through its doorway for the last time.

Such is the stuff of novels, but archaeologists must deal with drier details: the factual basis for this reconstructed scene in the last moments of the occupation of Godin Tepe room 20 during Period V at the end of the 4th millennium B.C.


1.

Introduction

The ancient site of Godin Tepe in central western Iran lies between the modern cities of Bakhtaran (Kermanshah) and Hamadan in the Kangavar plain of the Zagros mountains, overlooking the Khorram river (Map 4.1). Here, the earliest evidence for winemaking and wine use has been found which dates to the later part of the 4th millennium B.C.

Lowland Greater Mesopotamia, comprising the wide alluvial plains of the lower Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in southern Iraq and of Khuzistan in southwestern Iran, was home to the oldest literate civilizations in the world-that of the Sumerian and Elamite city-states, dating back to the 4th millennium B.C. This period was one of the most dynamic in the ancient Near East. Many trade routes were actively being used, implying widespread cultural stability. There is a remarkable degree of interaction between distant regions which is indicated by the profusion of imported artifacts, styles, and even economic systems. Objects and pottery belonging to the southern Mesopotamian and southwestern Iranian lowland repertoire (denoted as “Late Uruk, ” after the

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