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Shipwreck Yields World's Oldest Salad Dressing
Discovery News ^ | Jennifer Viegas

Posted on 06/24/2008 7:28:42 AM PDT by blam

Shipwreck Yields World's Oldest Salad Dressing

Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News

June 20, 2008 -- Olive oil infused with fragrant herbs has been identified in an ancient Greek ceramic transport jar known as an amphora, along with another container of what could be the world's oldest retsina-type wine, according to a recent Journal of Archaeological Science paper.

It is the first time DNA has been extracted from shipwrecked artifacts -- the two large jars were recovered from a 2,400-year-old wrecked vessel off the Greek island of Chios. If the second jar indeed contained a retsina-like wine, which is preserved and flavored with a tree resin known as mastic, then the find would push back the known origins of mastic cultivation by 200 years.

"This (study) opens new possibilities for archaeologists -- now perhaps we can figure out what was carried in almost every 'empty' jar we find in land excavations or shipwrecks," researcher Brendan Foley of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution told Discovery News.

"Maybe we can even go back to the amphorae, jars and cooking pots previously excavated and now sitting in museum storerooms around the world and ask new questions of each artifact," he added.

The discoveries resulted from an international collaboration involving Foley, Swedish scientist Maria Hansson, and Greek archaeologists Dimitris Kourkoumelis and Theotokis Theodoulou of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture, overseen by Calliopi Preka-Alexandri and Vivi Vassilopoulou.

For the study, Hansson and Foley swabbed the jars with a chemical that allowed them to collect any genetic material inside. They then amplified and sequenced the DNA, comparing it to known DNA "signatures" from a database.

Since these signatures are unique for all plants and animals, they let researchers identify the source of the material in question. There is little doubt the first amphora contained the herb-infused olive oil, which was likely used to dress and flavor meals. The scientists suspect the potent antioxidant properties of oregano helped to preserve the mixture over the millennia.

As for the second amphora, its DNA signature matched a plant from the Pistacia genus. That points to either pistachio nuts or mastic (scientific name Pistacia lentiscus).

Foley said the ancient Greeks were known to have shipped huge containers of nuts. One third-century B.C. wreck, in fact, contained jar after jar of them. But since the design of this particular amphora was most associated with wine shipments, mastic-flavored wine is the more likely choice.

Mastic, like some herbs, serves as both a flavoring and a preservative. It was the most popular wine preservative until the Romans started using chemicals called sulfites, which to this day are found in most wines.

Both shipwrecked containers appeared empty to the naked eye, but enough of their contents had been absorbed into the uppermost layers of the ceramic interiors to enable the discoveries.

Duccio Cavalieri of the Bauer Center for Genomics Research and his team used a comparable DNA method to identify common yeast in wine jars from Egypt. The yeast is still used to make modern wines, breads and beers.

"(Our) results indicate that this organism was probably responsible for wine fermentation by at least 3150 B.C.," Cavalieri and his colleagues wrote.

Given the success of the two DNA studies, this form of minimally invasive testing may now become the norm, replacing, in some cases, destructive scrapings and les precise identification methods such as gas chromatography.

Foley and his colleagues are working in Sweden now, but they plan to return to Greece soon to conduct further research there.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: chios; dressing; godsgravesglyphs; salad; ship; shipwreck; wreck

1 posted on 06/24/2008 7:28:42 AM PDT by blam
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To: blam

Don’t eat the mayo.


2 posted on 06/24/2008 7:29:36 AM PDT by AxelPaulsenJr (300 Million People Going Bust Over High Gasoline Prices and Hussein Obama Wants to Hug Trees.)
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To: blam

They’ve yet to look in my refrigerator.


3 posted on 06/24/2008 7:30:17 AM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: SunkenCiv
GGG Ping.

Ancient Condiment This ancient jar, recovered from a 2,400-year-old shipwreck, bore the traces of an unknown plant from the Pistachia genus.

4 posted on 06/24/2008 7:30:48 AM PDT by blam
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To: AxelPaulsenJr

Another Sinko Demayo.


5 posted on 06/24/2008 7:31:06 AM PDT by bmwcyle (If God wanted us to be Socialist, Karl Marx would have been born in America.)
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To: blam

Pass the croutons please.


6 posted on 06/24/2008 7:31:44 AM PDT by Pistolshot (When you let what you are define who you are, you create divisiveness.)
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To: bmwcyle

Good one!


7 posted on 06/24/2008 7:33:24 AM PDT by TruthShallSetYouFree (Abortion is to family planning what bankruptcy is to financial planning.)
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To: blam

Heck, I’ve got salad dressing in my fridge that’s older than that!............


8 posted on 06/24/2008 7:36:39 AM PDT by Red Badger (NOBODY MOVE!!!!.......I dropped me brain............................)
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To: AxelPaulsenJr
Don’t eat the mayo.


9 posted on 06/24/2008 7:37:50 AM PDT by maine-iac7 (No trees were killed in sending this message but a large number of electrons were terrible agitated)
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To: blam

Must be the supplier for the tightwad Greek-guy’s restaurant down the street.


10 posted on 06/24/2008 7:37:56 AM PDT by Rebelbase
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To: AxelPaulsenJr

I’ll pass on the 2,400 year old feta cheese too!


11 posted on 06/24/2008 7:38:11 AM PDT by Disturbin (Liberals: buying votes with your tax dollars)
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To: Disturbin

Was it found off of the Thousand Islands?


12 posted on 06/24/2008 7:40:16 AM PDT by BubbaJunebug
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To: blam

Might be good on some salmonella tomatoes.


13 posted on 06/24/2008 7:40:54 AM PDT by Proud2BeRight
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To: blam

Why were these containers made that way? Wouldn’t a flat base help avoid an extra stand? Or does it have something to do with collecting sediments at the pointed bottom?


14 posted on 06/24/2008 7:47:04 AM PDT by CarrotAndStick (The articles posted by me needn't necessarily reflect my opinion.)
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To: Rebelbase

I ordered retsina wine at a Greek place. Yuk! Like drinking turpentine.

I read later that adulterating (denaturing?) wine with pine resin made it exempt from some Ottoman excise tax.


15 posted on 06/24/2008 7:49:11 AM PDT by elcid1970 (My cartridges are dipped in pig grease.)
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To: blam

“olive oil infused with fragrant herbs”

Great, now I’m starving.


16 posted on 06/24/2008 7:50:23 AM PDT by Natchez Hawk (This is Sammy Israel III filling in for DB Cooper who will be returning next week,)
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To: CarrotAndStick
Why were these containers made that way? Wouldn’t a flat base help avoid an extra stand? Or does it have something to do with collecting sediments at the pointed bottom?

I wondered the same thing.

Here's a link to the NYT about them:

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9905EFDB1E3FF937A2575BC0A9679C8B63

Relevant quote:

". In fact, the long, pointed bottom of the typical amphora gave it an excellent shape for stacking against a ship's hull, according to Dr. Shelley Wachsmann, a nautical and biblical archaeologist at the Institute of Nautical Archaeology at Texas A&M University.

''If you visualize three or four amphorae next to each other with the sides touching, there is a hole in the middle where the circles meet,'' he explained. ''If they are stacked in layers, an amphora in the next layer would rest in that hole.'' "
17 posted on 06/24/2008 8:01:09 AM PDT by chrisser (The Two Americas: Those that want to be coddled, Those that want to be left the hell alone.)
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To: All
I don't even want the words "geek" and "tossed salad" in the same sentence.


18 posted on 06/24/2008 8:06:12 AM PDT by Liberty2007 (Here's Savage's analysis of the POTUS race: The “Afro-Leninist v. the sarcophagus”.)
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To: blam

Sam and Ella’s salad dressing by any chance?


19 posted on 06/24/2008 8:08:41 AM PDT by DannyTN
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To: Liberty2007

grrr. the words “greek” and “tossed salad”


20 posted on 06/24/2008 8:13:12 AM PDT by Liberty2007 (Here's Savage's analysis of the POTUS race: The “Afro-Leninist v. the sarcophagus”.)
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To: chrisser

Interesting!


21 posted on 06/24/2008 8:15:23 AM PDT by CarrotAndStick (The articles posted by me needn't necessarily reflect my opinion.)
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To: blam

IIRC, Dr. Mike Collins of TARL has attempted analysis of foodstuff traces adsorbed into the outer layer of limestone rocks that, supposedly, were used as “boiling stones” by prehistoric Texas folk. (Not sure he included DNA testing, though...) I’ll check with him to see what results he obtained...


22 posted on 06/24/2008 8:54:27 AM PDT by TXnMA
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To: blam
A man with a celery stalk sticking out of one ear, lettuce out of the other, and a zucchini up his nose went to the doctor and asked him what's wrong.

The doctor said, "Well, for one thing, you're not eating right."

23 posted on 06/24/2008 9:05:03 AM PDT by GSWarrior
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To: blam
A man with a celery stalk sticking out of one ear, lettuce out of the other, and a zucchini up his nose went to the doctor and asked him what's wrong.

The doctor said, "Well, for one thing, you're not eating right."

24 posted on 06/24/2008 9:05:19 AM PDT by GSWarrior
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To: blam
A man with a celery stalk sticking out of one ear, lettuce out of the other, and a zucchini up his nose went to the doctor and asked him what's wrong.

The doctor said, "Well, for one thing, you're not eating right."

25 posted on 06/24/2008 9:07:55 AM PDT by GSWarrior
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To: blam
A man with a celery stalk sticking out of one ear, lettuce out of the other, and a zucchini up his nose went to the doctor and asked him what's wrong.

The doctor said, "Well, for one thing, you're not eating right."

26 posted on 06/24/2008 9:08:19 AM PDT by GSWarrior
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To: Admin Moderator

What’s going on with my post?


27 posted on 06/24/2008 9:09:15 AM PDT by GSWarrior
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To: blam; Renfield

Thanks Renfield and Blam. This is one of the many stories getting recycled due to the Indiana Jones movie. I haven’t seen it. The only good to come out of it so far are bags of those Indy Jones mint M&Ms. Mmmmmm.

As tribute to the late George Carlin, I *won’t* post the pointer directly to my ripoff of his “500 Islands” joke.

Team IDs Ancient Cargo From DNA
Exduco | 10-31-2007 | David Chandler - MIT
Posted on 11/01/2007 2:27:27 PM PDT by blam
http://freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1919702/posts

Ingredients for Salad Dressing Found in 2,400-year-old Shipwreck
LiveScience | 08 November 2007 | Charles Q. Choi
Posted on 11/10/2007 6:37:47 AM PST by Daffynition
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/1923784/posts

http://www.freerepublic.com/tag/shipwreck/index


28 posted on 06/24/2008 9:09:21 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/_________________________Profile updated Friday, May 30, 2008)
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To: StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; 1ofmanyfree; 21twelve; 24Karet; 2ndDivisionVet; 3AngelaD; ..

· join list or digest · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post a topic ·

 
Gods
Graves
Glyphs
Update topic.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
GGG managers are Blam, StayAt HomeMother, and Ernest_at_the_Beach
 

· Google · Archaeologica · ArchaeoBlog · Archaeology magazine · Biblical Archaeology Society ·
· Mirabilis · Texas AM Anthropology News · Yahoo Anthro & Archaeo ·
· History or Science & Nature Podcasts · Excerpt, or Link only? · cgk's list of ping lists ·


29 posted on 06/24/2008 9:10:31 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/_________________________Profile updated Friday, May 30, 2008)
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To: SunkenCiv

Adam: EVE!!! You put my dress suit in the salad again!


30 posted on 06/24/2008 9:14:19 AM PDT by Monkey Face ("Science has proof without any certainty. Creationists have certainty without any proof.")
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To: blam

They can take it to McDonald’s and put it on the world’s oldest salad.


31 posted on 06/24/2008 9:18:32 AM PDT by aomagrat (Gun owners who vote for democrats are too stupid to own guns.)
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To: blam

I think this is the same wreck, if not, still worth another look:

Greek Shipwreck from 350 BC Revealed
LiveScience.com on yahoo | 2/2/06 | Ker Than
Posted on 02/02/2006 3:53:32 PM PST by NormsRevenge
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/1570539/posts

Deep-Sea Robot Photographs Ancient Greek Shipwreck
MIT | 2-3-2006 | MIT
Posted on 02/03/2006 2:51:12 PM PST by blam
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1571269/posts

I’m not sure if this is the same one or not:

Ship wreck provides historic data
Famagusta Gazette | Thursday, December 20, 2007
Posted on 12/20/2007 12:35:27 PM PST by SunkenCiv
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/1942436/posts


32 posted on 06/24/2008 9:23:43 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/_________________________Profile updated Friday, May 30, 2008)
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To: AxelPaulsenJr
Don’t eat the mayo.

I won't.

Male kiss adds sauce to Heinz mayo ad

Believe me, I won't.

33 posted on 06/24/2008 9:27:32 AM PDT by null and void (every Muslim, the minute he can start differentiating, carries hate of Americans, Jews & Christians)
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To: chrisser

Ah... that makes sense. I’ve wondered about the same thing too.

It would also lock the whole stack together, and individual jars wouldn’t knock around when the ship rolls back and forth either. I don’t know, but it would’ve been natural then that the bottom of the hold should have some sort of rack that the first layer fits into. Neat.


34 posted on 06/24/2008 9:29:12 AM PDT by Ramius (Personally, I give us... one chance in three. More tea?)
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To: blam

The other amphora probably contained vinegar to go with the oil.


35 posted on 06/24/2008 10:14:16 AM PDT by curmudgeonII
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To: GSWarrior

Heh - you’re not posting right! :-)


36 posted on 06/24/2008 10:15:30 AM PDT by Hegemony Cricket (Friends with umbrellas are outstanding in the rain.)
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