Skip to comments.Ancient Greek Ships Carried More Than Just Wine
Posted on 10/16/2011 7:46:09 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
A DNA analysis of ancient storage jars suggests that Greek sailors traded a wide range of foods -- not just wine, as many historians have assumed. The study, in press at the Journal of Archaeological Science1, finds evidence in nine jars taken from Mediterranean shipwrecks of vegetables, herbs and nuts. The researchers say DNA testing of underwater artefacts from different time periods could help to reveal how such complex markets developed across the Mediterranean.
Archaeologist Brendan Foley of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Massachusetts and geneticist Maria Hansson of Lund University, Sweden, retrieved DNA from nine amphorae -- the storage containers of the ancient world -- from sunken ships dating from the fifth to the third centuries BC.
The researchers found grape DNA -- as would be expected for containers of wine -- in only five of the nine jars, and olive DNA, possibly from olive oil, in six of them. Other 'hits' included DNA from legumes, ginger, walnut and juniper and from herbs such as mint, thyme and oregano.
Amphorae have been found in their thousands in wrecks all over the Mediterranean Sea. Some of them contain residues of food, such as olive pits and fish bones, but the vast majority of them are discovered empty and unmarked.
Foley says historians tend to assume that these containers were used mainly to transport wine -- in a survey of 27 peer-reviewed studies describing 5,860 amphorae, he found that 95% of the jars were described as having carried the beverage.
(Excerpt) Read more at nature.com ...
Researchers were able to retrieve DNA from ancient Greek amphorae and use it to determine what the jars once held. Theotokis Theodoulou
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It actually takes a scholarly study to discern that a cargo ship will carry more than one type of cargo. Ridiculous.
The Trireme Boatmen's Song: "Row, row, row your boat swiftly across the sea...."
Why would anyone ever assume they only traded wine?
All of the unmarked empties probably had beer in them.
Because our entire school of academic thought has become locked into progressive history due to collectivist influences. God forbid man was ever even remotely as sophisticated as today.
Amazingly enough the Greek economy did not entirely depend on one single product. Who woulda thunk it, besides sane people?
Wine is a derivative of at least one other product, grapes, so there would be at least 2 right there. lol
Since much of the cargo carried on ancient Greek ships were stored in ceramic amphora vases that could be sealed, that’s why not only did the Greeks export wine, but a long, long list of other agricultural goods such as dried fruit and olive oil.
Maybe the ships carried empty amphorae because in those days the Greeks had to bail themselves out.
Cruel. But verrry funny.
>>> Greek sailors traded a wide range of foods — not just wine, as many historians have assumed.
What historians ever assumed that? It’s always been known the ships cargoes included grain, fruit, lumber, metals, etc.
There varied cargoes have been known about, but the use of amphorae to transport wine (and nothing else) *may* have been thought by someone sometime. The writer of the article already got the degree and he’s got being graded. :’)
The amphorae were nice and cheap to make, and over great distances, they might not be re-used. A hill next to the site of ancient Carthage was believed to be either part of the town (a “tell”) or a natural feature, and turned out to be a trash pile made up primarily of discarded amphorae. :’)
Thanks for the clarification. I’ve heard about amphorae tras heap before.
I have always suspected that early ships traded in more than just wine. Consider Proverbs 31:
“Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. She seeketh wool and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.”
I never imagined that this was about a wife keeping her husband drunk on imported wine. I assume this is about the wife’s role in meeting the family’s domestic and nutritional needs including a broad range of foods, a role that was even in 1000 BC supported by the sea trade in the Med.
Well... you know there had to be yogurt. I keep seeing the commercials for the Greek yogurt.
This strikes me as being and incredibly stupid assumption.
One of the most common (and most valuable) commodities transported in amphorae, especially by the Romans, was 'garum' (fermented fish sauce). They ate it on darn near everything.
Right. I’ve heard they think some of the ancient civilizations might have used these one-time ships to move large stones for monuments.
;”) I’ve heard that too — wait, that was me that said it... :’)
The brand marks of one of the family-run brands of it have been found on jar fragments alll over the former Empire. :’)
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