Grapes, wines and archaeological remains

Chemical analysis in food waste is an exciting topic that allows certifying information about its origin, types, processes, etc. In this way it is possible to complement the information obtained by archaeologists and historians.

Our studies

In the residue of a Neolithic ceramic vase, found in the Cova d’En Pardo (Planes, Alicante), the presence of beta-cedrene was identified. This compound is a sesquiterpene found in plants (cedar bark, juniper, etc.), including herbs or forage that are consumed by cows and sheep and whose components are transferred to the milk of these animals.

In the archeoenological field, we have carried out research on wine amphorae residues from the Egyptian and Roman Empire and on the ways of elaboration in ancient civilizations, a project financed by the Codorniu group and the Foundation for the Culture of Wine. The research on amphorae of Ancient Egypt has been carried out on samples from the British Museum in London and the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. The presence of tartaric acid and syringic acid has been confirmed in wine residues. The first is a characteristic compound of the grape and its derivatives, such as must; while syringic acid is the product resulting from the hydrolysis of malvidin, a red-violet pigment characteristic of red wine.

Later we have had the opportunity to analyze the polyphenolic compounds of a wine from the 18th century, found on the coasts of Belgium.