Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

King Tut liked red wine

15.03.2004


Ancient Egyptians believed in properly equipping a body for the afterlife, and not just through mummification. A new study reveals that King Tutankhamun eased his arduous journey with a stash of red wine.



Spanish scientists have developed the first technique that can determine the color of wine used in ancient jars. They analyzed residues from a jar found in the tomb of King Tut and found that it contained wine made with red grapes.

This is the only extensive chemical analysis that has been done on a jar from King Tut’s tomb, and it is the first time scientists have provided evidence of the color of wine in an archaeological sample. The report appears in the March 15 edition of Analytical Chemistry, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society.


The earliest scientific evidence of grapes is from 60-million-year-old fossil vines, while the first written record of winemaking comes from a much more recent source, the Bible, which says Noah planted a vineyard after exiting the ark.

Scientists have detected wine in a jar from as far back as 5400 B.C., found at the site of Hajji Firuz Tepe in the northern Zagros Mountains of present-day Iran. But the earliest knowledge about wine cultivation comes from ancient Egypt, where the winemaking process was represented on tomb walls dating to 2600 B.C.

"Wine in ancient Egypt was a drink of great importance, consumed by the upper classes and the kings," says Maria Rosa Guasch-Jané, a master in Egyptology at the University of Barcelona in Spain. She and Rosa M. Lamuela-Raventós, Ph.D., a professor of nutrition and food science, have analyzed samples of ancient Egyptian jars belonging to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and the British Museum in London.

One sample came from the tomb of King Tutankhamun, discovered in 1922 by Howard Carter in Western Thebes, Egypt. The inscription on the jar reads: "Year 5. Wine of the House-of-Tutankhamun Ruler-of-the-Southern-On, l.p.h.[in] the Western River. By the chief vintner Khaa."

"Wine jars were placed in tombs as funerary meals," Guasch-Jané says. "The New Kingdom wine jars were labeled with product, year, source and even the name of the vine grower, but they did not mention the color of the wines they contained." Scientists and oenophiles have long debated the type of grape that ancient Egyptians used in their wines.

Using a new method for the identification of grape markers, Lamuela-Raventós and her coworkers determined that the wine in this jar was made with red grapes.

Tartaric acid, which is rarely found in nature from sources other than grapes, has been used before as a marker for the presence of wine in ancient residues, but it offers no information about the type of grape.

Malvidin-glucoside is the major component that gives the red color to young red wines, and no other juice used in the ancient Near East and Mediterranean region contains it. As wine ages, malvidin reacts with other compounds forming more complex structures. The researchers directed their efforts toward developing a tool for breaking down these structures to release syringic acid.

Analysis of ancient samples requires a very sensitive method to minimize the amount of sample that needs to be used. To detect syringic acid, the researchers used a technique called liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry in tandem mode, which is known for its high speed, sensitivity and selectivity. This method has never before been used to identify tartaric acid or syringic acid, nor has it been used on any archaeological sample, according to the scientists.

Lamuela-Raventós and Guasch-Jané plan to use the new technique in more extensive studies of wine residues from other archaeological samples.

The Spanish Wine Culture Foundation and Codorniu Group provided funding for this research.

Allison Byrum | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.acs.org/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Designer cells: artificial enzyme can activate a gene switch
22.05.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Flow of cerebrospinal fluid regulates neural stem cell division
22.05.2018 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Designer cells: artificial enzyme can activate a gene switch

22.05.2018 | Life Sciences

PR of MCC: Carbon removal from atmosphere unavoidable for 1.5 degree target

22.05.2018 | Earth Sciences

Achema 2018: New camera system monitors distillation and helps save energy

22.05.2018 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>