Human Ecology

, Volume 39, Issue 3, pp 351–360 | Cite as

Never Mind the Bottle. Archaeobotanical Evidence of Beer-brewing in Mediterranean France and the Consumption of Alcoholic Beverages During the 5th Century BC

  • Laurent Bouby
  • Philippe Boissinot
  • Philippe Marinval
Article

Abstract

This article reports on an example of early archaeobotanical evidence for beer-making in Iron Age South-Eastern France. An archaeological sample from a fifth century BC house at the site of Roquepertuse produced a concentration of carbonized barley (Hordeum vulgare) grains. The sample was taken from the floor of the dwelling, close to a hearth and an oven. The barley grains are predominantly sprouted and we argue that the assemblage represents the remains of deliberate malting. Malt was most likely related to beer-brewing. The neighboring oven could have been used to stop the germination process at the desired level by drying or roasting the grain. Beer-making evidence in Roquepertuse is discussed in the context of the consumption of alcoholic beverages in the Iron Age Western Mediterranean using archaeological and historical data.

Keywords

Beer Archaeobotany Iron Age Mediterranean Social consumption of alcoholic beverages 

References

  1. Alonso, N., Buxo, R., and Rovira, N. (2007). Recherches sur l’alimentation végétale et l’agriculture du site de Lattes-Port Ariane: étude des semences et fruits. Lattara 20: 219–249.Google Scholar
  2. André, J. (1981). L’alimentation et la cuisine à Rome. Les Belles Lettres, Paris. 232 p.Google Scholar
  3. Arthur, J. W. (2003). Brewing beer: status, wealth and ceramic use alteration among the Gamo of south-western Ethiopia. World Archaeology 34(3): 516–528.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Behre, K. E. (1992). The history of beer additives in Europe—a review. Vegetation History and Archaeology 8: 35–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Boardman, S., and Jones, G. (1990). Experiments on the Effects of Charring on Cereal Plant Components. Journal of Archaeological Science 17(1): 1–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Boissinot, P., Gantes, L.-F., and Gassend, J.-M. (2000). La chronologie de Roquepertuse. Propositions préliminaires à l’issue des campagnes 1994–1999. Documents d’Archéologie Méridionale 23: 249–271.Google Scholar
  7. Boissinot, P. (2004). Usage et circulation des éléments lapidaires de Roquepertuse. Documents d’Archéologie Méridionale 27: 49–62.Google Scholar
  8. Bouby, L., and Marinval, P. (2000). Ressources végétales à Marseille et dans les sociétés indigènes au Bronze final et au Premier Age du Fer: premiers éléments de comparaison. In Janin, T. (ed.), Mailhac et le Premier Age du Fer en Europe occidentale. Monographies d'Archéologie Méditerranéenne, 7. ARALO, Lattes, pp. 205–214.Google Scholar
  9. Bouby, L., and Marinval, P. (2001). La vigne et les débuts de la viticulture en France: apports de l’archéobotanique. Gallia 58: 13–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bouby, L., Terral, J.-F., Ivorra, S., Marinval, P., Pradat, B., and Ruas, M.-P. (2006). Vers une approche bio-archéologique de l’histoire de la vigne cultivée et de la viticulture: problématique, choix méthodologiques et premiers résultats. Archéologie du Midi Médiéval 23(24): 61–74.Google Scholar
  11. Brun, J.-P. (2004). Archéologie du vin et de l’huile dans l’Empire romain. Errance, Paris. 316 p.Google Scholar
  12. Bueno Ramírez, P., Barroso Bermejo, R., and de Balbín Behrmann, R. (2005). Ritual campaniforme, ritual colectivo: la Necrópolis de cuevas artificiales del Valle de las Higueras, Huecas, Toledo. Trabajos de Prehistoria 62(2): 67–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Buxo I Capdevila, R. (1996). Evidence for vines and ancient cultivation from an urban area, Lattes (Hérault), Southern France. Antiquity 70: 393–407.Google Scholar
  14. Buxo, R. (2008). The agricultural consequences of colonial contacts on the Iberian Peninsula in the first millennium B.C. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 17: 145–154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Chausserie-Laprée, J. (2005). Martigues. Terre gauloise. Entre Celtique et Méditerranée, Errance, Paris. 251 p.Google Scholar
  16. Dietler, M. (1990). Driven by Drink: The Role of Drinking in the Political Economy and the Case of Early Iron Age France. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 9: 352–406.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dietler, M. (1997). The Iron Age in Mediterranean France: Colonial Encounters, Entanglements, and Transformations. Journal of World Prehistory 11(3): 269–358.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Dietler, M. (2006). Alcohol: Anthropological/Archaeological perspectives. Annual Review of Anthropology 35: 229–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Dietler, M. (2007). The Iron Age in the Western Mediterranean. In Scheidel, W., Morris, I., and Saller, R. (eds.), The Cambridge Economic History of the Greco-Roman World. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 242–276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Fabregas Valcarce, R. (2001). Los petroglifos y su contexto: un ejemplo de la Galicia meridional. Instituto de Estudios Vigueses, Vigo. 121 p.Google Scholar
  21. Garcia, D. (1987). Observations sur la production et le commerce des céréales en Languedoc méditerranéen durant l’âge du Fer: les formes de stockage des grains. Revue Archéologique de Narbonnaise 20: 43–98.Google Scholar
  22. Garcia, D. (1999). Sistemas agrarios, cultivo de los cereales y urbanizacion en Galia meridional (s. VIII-IV a.C.). In Buxo, R., and Pons, E. (eds.), Els productes alimentaris d’originen vegetal a l’edat del Ferro de l’Europa Occidental: de la produccio al consum. Sèrie Monogràfica, 18. Museu d’Arqueologia de Catalunya, Girona, pp. 189–196.Google Scholar
  23. Garnsey, P. (1999). Food and society in classical antiquity. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. 175 p.Google Scholar
  24. Hodos, T. (2006). Local responses to colonization in the Iron Age Mediterranean. Routledge, London. 280 p.Google Scholar
  25. Hornsey, I. S. (2003). A history of beer and brewing. Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge. 720 p.Google Scholar
  26. Jennings, J., and Bowser, B. J. (2008). Drink, Power and Society in the Andes. University Press of Florida, Gainesville. 280 p.Google Scholar
  27. Jones, M. (1981). The development of crop husbandry. In Jones, M., and Dimbleby, G. (eds.), The Environment of Man: the Iron Age to the Anglo-Saxon period. British Archaeological Reports, British Series 87, Oxford, pp. 95–127.Google Scholar
  28. Juan Tresseras, J. (1998). La cerveza prehistorica: Investigaciones arqueobotanicas y experimentales. In Maya, J. L., Cuesta, F., and Lopez Cachero, J. (eds.), Genó, un poblado del Bronce Final en el Bajo Segre (Lleida). Publicacions Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, pp. 239–252.Google Scholar
  29. Laubenheimer, F., Ouzoulias, P., and Van Ossel, P. (2003). La bière en Gaule. Sa fabrication, les mots pour le dire, les vestiges archéologiques: première approche. Revue Archéologique de Picardie 1–2: 47–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Margaritis, E., and Jones, M. (2006). Beyond cereals: crop processing and Vitis vinifera L. Ethnography, experiment and charred grape remains from Hellenistic Greece. Journal of Archaeological Science 33: 784–805.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Marinval, P. (1988). Cueillette, agriculture et alimentation végétale de l’Epipaléolithique jusqu’au 2° Age du Fer en France méridionale. Apports palethnographiques de la carpologie. PhD Thesis, EHESS, Paris, p. 458.Google Scholar
  32. Marinval, P. (1997). Vigne sauvage et Vigne cultivée dans le Bassin méditerranéen. Emergence de la viticulture. Contribution archéo-botanique. In Frissant, P. (ed.), L’histoire du vin, une histoire de rites. Office International de la Vigne et du Vin, Paris, pp. 137–172.Google Scholar
  33. Marty, F., and Del Corso, M. (2002). L’habitat de hauteur du Castellan (Istres, B.-du-Rh.) à l’âge du Fer. Etude des collections anciennes et recherches récentes. Documents d’Archéologie Méridionale 25: 129–169.Google Scholar
  34. Maurizio, A. (1927). Die Geschichte unserer Pflanzennahrung von den Urzeiten bis zur Gegenwart. Verlag Paul Parey, Berlin. 480 p.Google Scholar
  35. McGovern, P. E. (2009). Uncorking the past. The quest for wine, beer, and other alcoholic beverages. University of California Press, Berkeley, p. 330.Google Scholar
  36. Pétrequin, P., Chaix, L., Pétrequin, A. M., and Piningre, J. F. (1985). La grotte des Planches-près-Arbois (Jura). Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, Paris. 273p.Google Scholar
  37. Py, M. (1993). Les gaulois du Midi. De la fin de l’Âge du Bronze à la conquête romaine, Hachette, Paris. 288 p.Google Scholar
  38. Py, M., Buxo I Capdevila, R. (2001). La viticulture en Gaule à l’âge du Fer. Gallia 58: 29–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Renfrew, J. M. (1973). Palaeoethnobotany. The prehistoric food plants of the Near East and Europe. Columbia University Press, New York. 248 p.Google Scholar
  40. Rojo Guerra, E. (2006). Exploring the significance of beaker pottery through residue analyses. Oxford Journal of Archaeology 25(3): 247–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Rösch, M., Jacomet, S., and Karg, S. (1992). The history of cereals in the region of the former Duchy of Swabia (Herzogtum Schwaben) from the Roman to the Post-medieval period: results of archaeobotanical research. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 1: 193–231.Google Scholar
  42. Sigaut, F. (1997). La diversité des bières. Questions sur l’identification, l’histoire et la géographie récentes d’un produit. In Meeks, D., and Garcia, D. (eds.), Techniques et économie antiques et médiévales: le temps de l’innovation. Errance, Paris, pp. 82–87.Google Scholar
  43. Sourisseau, C. (2000). La Provence et les échanges commerciaux au premier Âge du Fer. In Chausserie-Laprée, J. (ed.), Le temps des Gaulois en Provence. Musée Ziem, Martigues, pp. 59–66.Google Scholar
  44. Stika, H. P. (1996). Traces of a possible Celtic brewery in Eberdingen-Hochdorf, Kreis Ludwigsburg, southwest Germany. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 5: 81–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Stika, H. P. (2011). Early Iron Age and Late Mediaeval malt finds from Germany—attempts at reconstruction of early Celtic brewing and the taste of Celtic beer. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences doi:10.1007/s12520-010-0049-5.Google Scholar
  46. Tchernia, A. (1997). Le tonneau, de la bière au vin. In Meeks, D., and Garcia, D. (eds.), Techniques et économie antiques et médiévales: le temps de l’innovation. Errance, Paris, pp. 121–129.Google Scholar
  47. Van der Veen, M. (1989). Charred Grain Assemblages from Roman-Period Corn Driers in Britain. Archaeological Journal 146: 302–319.Google Scholar
  48. Verger, S., and Guillaumet, J. P. (1988). Les tumulus de Saint-Romain-de-Jalionas (Isère). Premières observations in Les princes celtes et la Méditerranée. In Les princes celtes et la Méditerranée. La documentation française, Paris, pp. 230–240.Google Scholar
  49. Vermeulen, S. J., Campbell, B. M., and Matzke, G. E. (1996). The Consumption of Wood by Rural Households in Gokwe Communal Area, Zimbabwe. Human Ecology 24(4): 479–491.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Van Zeist, W. (1991). Economic aspects. In Van Zeist, W., Wasylikowa, K., and Behre, K. E. (eds.), Progress in Old World Palaeoethnobotany. Balkema, Rotterdam, pp. 109–132.Google Scholar
  51. Zohary, D., and Hopf, M. (2000). Domestication of Plants in the Old World, 2nd ed. Clarendon, Oxford. 279 p.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laurent Bouby
    • 1
  • Philippe Boissinot
    • 2
  • Philippe Marinval
    • 3
  1. 1.CNRS-Centre de Bio-Archéologie et d’Ecologie (CBAE)-UMR 5059-Institut de BotaniqueMontpellierFrance
  2. 2.EHESS-Travaux et Recherches Archéologiques sur les Cultures, les Espaces et les Sociétés (TRACES)-UMR 5608ToulouseFrance
  3. 3.CNRS-Archéologie des Sociétés Méditerranéennes (ASM)-UMR 5140LattesFrance

Personalised recommendations