New Discovery!: Earliest Known Eurasian Grape Wine

In the News An 8,000-Year-Old Vintage! Penn Museum Researcher Confirms Earliest Known Evidence of Grape Wine and Viticulture in the World Penn Museum researcher Dr. Patrick McGovern, Scientific Director of the Biomolecular Archaeology Project for Cuisine, Fermented Beverages and Health, has once again pushed back the beginnings of viticulture and winemaking in the Middle East—to […]

Lectures and Tastings

Jan. 15, 2020 (Wednesday), 5:30-7 PM: “Ancient Brews: Rediscovered and Re-created,” MindCORE, Penn Museum, Philadelphia Oct. 28, 2019 (Monday): lecture (“Georgia: Cradle of Viniculture”) and panel discussion at Georgian wine conference, Harvard University Faculty Club, Cambridge, MA Oct. 25, 2019 (Friday), 9:30-10:30 AM: keynote address, “Ancient Brews: Rediscovered and Re-created,” Reconstructive and Experimental Archaeology Conference […]

Intoxicating: The Science of Alcohol

              Alcohol or ethanol has long perplexed our species.  Wherever we look in the ancient or modern world, humans have shown remarkable ingenuity in discovering how to make fermented and distilled beverages and incorporating them into their cultures.  Africa, where Homo sapiens sapiens first emerged some 200,000 years ago, […]

Beginning of Winemaking in France

New Evidence on Origins of Winemaking in France New BIOMOLECULAR aRCHAEOLOGICAL Evidence Points to the Beginnings of Viniculture in France *          *          * 9,000 Year Old Ancient Near Eastern “Wine Culture,” Traveling Land and Sea, Reaches Southern Coastal France, Via Ancient Etruscans of Italy, in 6th-­5th Century BCE PHILADELPHIA, PA June 3, 2013—France is renowned […]

New Biomolecular Archaeological Evidence for Nordic “Grog,” Expansion of Wine Trade, Discovered in Ancient Scandinavia

Discovery Highlights Innovative and Complex Fermented Beverages of Northernmost Europe in the Bronze and Iron Ages Philadelphia, PA 2014—Winters in Scandinavia were long and cold in the Bronze and Iron Ages, then as now—but a blazing fire was not the only thing to keep people warm. From northwest Denmark, circa 1500–1300 BC, to the Swedish […]

Dig, Drink, and Be Merry

In the lab, a flask of coffee-colored liquid bubbles on a hot plate. It contains tiny fragments from an ancient Etruscan amphora found at the French dig McGovern had just visited. The ceramic powder, which had been painstakingly extracted from the amphora’s base with a diamond drill, is boiling in a chloroform and methanol solvent […]

5,100 Year Old Egyptian Medicinal Wine

5,100 year old chemical evidence for ancient medicinal remedies is discovered in ancient Egyptian wine jars. New archaeochemical evidence, backed up by increasingly sophisticated scientific testing techniques, are pointing to a long history of medicinal remedies tried, tested, and sometimes lost, throughout millennia of human history—herbs, tree resins, and other organic materials dispensed by ancient […]

Anticancer Activity Found in Herbal Additives of Ancient Alcoholic Beverages

Penn Museum and Penn Medicine Research Collaboration Yields First Promising Evidence for Efficacy of Medicinal Compounds Once Employed by Our Ancestors New biomolecular archaeological evidence backed up by increasingly sophisticated scientific testing techniques are uncovering medicinal remedies discovered, tested, and sometimes lost, throughout millennia of human history—herbs, tree resins, and other organic materials dispensed by […]

Uncorking the Past

In a lively tour around the world and through the millennia, this book tells the compelling story of humanity’s ingenious, intoxicating quest for the perfect drink.

Chateau Jiahu

Chateau Jiahu won the Gold Medal at the Great American Brew Fest in Colorado in 2009! Preserved pottery jars found in the Neolithic villiage of Jiahu, in Henan province,Northern China, has revealed that a mixed fermented beverage of rice, honey and fruit was being produced that long ago – right around the same time that […]