Hajji Firuz Tepe

The earliest sign of winemaking in Hajji Firuz Tepe traces back to a Neolithic village in modern-day Iran. Archaeologists of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology excavated the site between 1958 and 1968 and found pottery jars filled with residue, revealing the oldest evidence of winemaking.

After that initial discovery, the team of archaeologists, including Patrick E. McGovern, found even earlier evidence of winemaking from the same site almost 2,000 years earlier. They dug up six jars from a mudbrick building in the kitchen area, containing residue that was 7,000 years old. McGovern used advanced techniques like IR, liquid chromatography, and chemical tests to examine the residue of the jar, which displayed the presence of calcium salt from tartaric acid. This acid is commonly found in abundance in grapes, revealing the presence of wine.

Archaeologists excavated 30- and 60-liter jars, showing that winemaking was adopted on a large scale. It was made not only for household use but also for commercial purposes. The resin was also present in the yellow residue of the jar, which may have been used as a preservative. Clay stoppers used to seal the openings of jars were also found, showing their methods for long-term storage. Each of these details shows that the creation of the wine was deliberate.

Wines of Hajji Firuz Tepe

The wines of Hajji Firuz Tepe were considered the oldest at the time of their discovery. Still, recently the same archaeologist, Patrick E. McGovern, discovered evidence of Georgia wines that are even older. On November 13, 2017, this discovery was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Excited to have made yet another breakthrough, McGovern also reported being sad since he was particularly attached to the discovery at Hajji Firuz Tepe.

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Iran has a rich history of wine, and it has been one of the prominent wine producers for a long time. But the Islamic revolution of 1979 did damage to the wine industry because wine was wholly forbidden under the supreme leaders. In 2016, only 6% of the country’s population consumed wine, and in 2020, a person was executed after being found guilty of drinking alcohol and driving without a license.

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