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For Middle Eastern and European wines, for example, they test for tartaric acid, found in large quantity only in the Eurasian grape, together with other organic acids (lactic, citric, and succinic acid) common to this grape; background amounts produced by microorganisms are also checked.
Grape pips and other remains, if they are preserved and recovered, help confirm the analysis.
This sensual delight, in other words, is richly invested.
No moment like it, but no substance like it, either.
We no longer fashion arrowheads and use them to kill our dinner; we no longer dry the skin and fur that our dinner was ripped from and use it to stitch our clothes and shoes together.
Our ancestors, by contrast, never spent the day online, sat in traffic jams on the way home, or felt existentially superfluous.
A glass of wine poured at the end of the day, quietly surrendering its scents and stories—we know no other moment quite like this.
Our enjoyment of that glass of wine, though, is also the individual successor to countless acts of drinking.
Alcohol itself, alas, is entirely unrecoverable: It simply evaporates.
But Mc Govern and his collegues developed a series of tests for different alcoholic beverages.
“The general idea is to recover the ancient organics that were contained within certain vessels and find out what they were.” But as his books (notably , driven by biological, social, and religious imperatives to consume alcohol, and that this relationship with alcohol is a key to “understanding the development of our species and its cultures.”From murex to mead A talented pianist who considered a career in music, Mc Govern opted to study undergraduate chemistry at Cornell, taking a minor in English literature, and soon after became fascinated by ancient history: You can see the rangy mind.
He switched to Near Eastern archaeology and history for his doctoral research and began work studying pottery and glass fragments before specializing in the “royal purple” of the Canaanites and the Phoenicians (extracted from the Mediterranean murex molusc and once the most expensive dye in the world).