Islamic Iran digs up more of its wine-making past

TEHRAN: Archaeologists digging in southern Iran have found a pool and pots they believe were used some 1,800 years ago for large scale wine production, reinforcing the now-Islamic nation's status as the cradle of wine drinkers.

"We have found an almost intact pool with a canal in the middle of it. This is where the juices from crushed grapes would flow and be collected later in pots for fermentation and turning into wine," Ali Asadi, the head of the excavation team said. The team, which includes a group of Polish archaeologists, is digging at a site called Tange Bolaghi, near the southern city of Shiraz - a name also associated with fine wine.

Asadi said the team has also unearthed grape seeds, huge clay pots and remains of other similar pools in the area.

"The size of the pots and abundance of grapes in the area suggests wine could have been produced for commercial purposes at the facility," Asadi said.

Iran is believed to be the place where wine was first made - a jar containing the remains of 7,000-year-old wine was found some 30 years ago in the kitchen area of a mud-brick building in Hajji Firuz Tepe, a Neolithic village in Iran's Zagros Mountains.

The country may have a wine making heritage that is second to none, but alcohol manufacture and consumption has been banned in the country since the 1979 Islamic revolution. -AFP





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