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CHINA - Prehistory

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Bianca
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« Reply #15 on: February 02, 2009, 04:25:00 pm »










                           9,000-year History Of Chinese Fermented Beverages Confirmed






ScienceDaily
(Dec. 7, 2004) —
PHILADELPHIA, PA,
December 2004 --



Chemical analyses of ancient organics absorbed, and preserved, in pottery jars from the Neolithic
village of Jiahu, in Henan province, Northern China, have revealed that a mixed fermented beverage
of rice, honey, and fruit was being produced as early as 9,000 years ago, approximately the same
time that barley beer and grape wine were beginning to be made in the Middle East.

In addition, liquids more than 3,000 years old, remarkably preserved inside tightly lidded bronze
vessels, were chemically analyzed. These vessels from the capital city of Anyang and an elite burial
in the Yellow River Basin, dating to the Shang and Western Zhou Dynasties (ca. 1250-1000 B.C.), contained specialized rice and millet "wines." The beverages had been flavored with herbs, flowers, and/or tree resins, and are similar to herbal wines described in the Shang dynasty oracle inscriptions.

The new discoveries, made by an international, multi-disciplinary team of researchers including the University of Pennsylvania Museum's archaeochemist Dr. Patrick McGovern of MASCA (Museum Applied Science Center for Archaeology), provide the first direct chemical evidence for early fermented beverages in ancient Chinese culture, thus broadening our understanding of the key technological and cultural roles that fermented beverages played in China.

The discoveries and their implications for understanding ancient Chinese culture will be published on-
line the week of December 6, 2004 in the PNAS Early Edition (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences): "Fermented Beverages of Pre-and Proto-historic China," by Patrick E. McGovern, Juzhong Zhang, Jigen Tang, Zhiquing Zhang, Gretchen R. Hall, Robert A. Moreau, Alberto Nuñez, Eric D. Butrym, Michael P. Richards, Chen-shan Wang, Guangsheng Cheng, Zhijun Zhao, and Changsui Wang. Dr. McGovern worked with this team of researchers, associated with the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei, the Institute of Archaeology in Beijing, the Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology of Henan Province, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Firmenich Corporation, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig (Germany), and the Institute of Microbiology
of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The PNAS website address to the article is:



http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.0407921101.
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