CAS Graduate Student Conference 2017

Alcohol in the Ancient World

February 24–25, 2017

This event is free and open to the public. Please register here.

Conference Location: Penn Museum
Host: Center for Ancient Studies, University of Pennsylvania


Penn Museum
Ancient History
Art and Archaeology of the Mediterranean World
Classical Studies
East Asian Languages and Civilizations
History of Art
Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
Religious Studies

Friday, Feb. 24 (Rainey Auditorium)

Please enter via the Kress Entrance.

6:00-7:00 Keynote Lecture: Patrick McGovern (Penn Museum),"Uncorking the Past: Alcohol in the Ancient World."
7:00–8:00 Reception (Mosaic Gallery)

Cash Bar

Books will be on sale and Dr. McGovern will be available to sign them during the reception.

Keynote Abstract:
Biomolecular Archaeology, combined with archaeological discoveries, ancient textual and art historical analysis, archaeobotany, ethnohistory, and many other disciplines, is revolutionizing our view of the human past. The use of ever more sensitive techniques in this quest is illustrated by studies of ancient alcoholic beverages.

Patrick McGovern takes us on a fascinating odyssey back to our beginnings when early humanoids probably enjoyed a wild fruit or honey wine in Africa, and then out into the wider our enterprising ancestors concocted a host of beverages from a vast array of natural products: grape, fig, barley, rice, sorghum, chocolate, maize, etc., and herbs and tree resins of every kind. We follow the course of human ingenuity in domesticating plants of all kinds, which laid the bases for year-round settlements and increasingly more complex societies. From the bits and pieces of the past, we reconstruct how they made, preserved, and benefitted from their "extreme fermented beverages."

Early fermented beverage-makers must have marveled at the seemingly miraculous process of fermentation. When they drank the beverages, they were even more amazed--they were mind-altering substances, medicines, religious symbols, and social lubricants all rolled into one. The perfect drink, it turns out, has not only been a profound force in history, but may be fundamental to the human condition itself.

Keynote Speaker Bio:
Patrick McGovern directs the Biomolecular Archaeology Project at the University of Pennsylvania Museum in Philadelphia, where he is also an Adjunct Professor of Anthropology and Consulting Scholar in the Near East Section. Over the past two decades, he has pioneered the exciting interdisciplinary field of Biomolecular Archaeology which is yielding whole new chapters concerning our human ancestry, medical practice, and ancient cuisines and beverages. Popularly, Dr. Pat is known as the "Indiana Jones of Ancient Ales, Wines, and Extreme Beverages."

His academic background combined the physical sciences, archaeology, and history: A.B. in Chemistry from Cornell University, graduate work in neurochemistry at the University of Rochester, and a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Archaeology and Literature from the Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Department of the University of Pennsylvania.

He is the author of Ancient Wine: The Search for the Origins of Viniculture (Princeton: Princeton University, 2003/2004) and Uncorking the Past: The Quest for Wine, Beer, and Other Alcoholic Beverages (U. California, 2009/2010). A new book, Ancient Brews Rediscovered and Re-Created (WW Norton, New York) is scheduled for publication in June 2017. It tells the chemical, archaeological, and personal stories of how 9 Dogfish Head brews were brought back to life. It includes homebrew interpretations of the ancient beverages, meal pairings, and mood enhancers such as music and dress for quaffing in style with our ancestors. The extreme fermented beverages are the “liquid time capsules” for our journey into the past.

Saturday, Feb. 25 (Widener Lecture Hall)

Speaker Abstracts

Welcome and Introduction
10:00–10:10 Darren P. Ashby (NELC)
Session 1 (10:10–11:40)

Chair: Dr. Holly Pittman (History of Art)
10:10–10:30 Aikaterini Psimogiannou (University of Illinois at Chicago), "Drinking, Feasting, and Social Transformation in the Beginning of the Bronze Age in the Greek Mainland (ca. end of 4th mil. BCE)"
10:30–10:50 Martin Uildriks (Brown University), "Wine for the People: the Democratization of Ancient Egyptian Wine."
10:50–11:10 Edoardo Radaelli (The University of Southampton), "Imports of Oriental Wines to Rome during the Middle Imperial age (2nd–early 3rd Centuries AD). Implications and Reflections about the Consumption of Wine Emerging from the Analysis of Wine Amphorae Discovered in the ‘Terme di Elagabalo’ in Rome."
11:10–11:30 Eirik de Visser (University of Groningen), "Women and the Culture of the English Alehouses in Late Seventeenth Century England."
11:30–11:40 Response: Jake Morton (Ancient History)

11:40–1:00 Lunch

Session 2 (1–2:30)

Chair: Dr. Tom Tartaron (Classical Studies)
1:00-1:20 Kong Cheong and Jessica Harrison (American University and Independent Scholar), "Dancing with the Gods: Maya Use of Balche in Ritual and Celebration."
1:20-1:40 Travis Rupp (University of Colorado at Boulder), "What was in Nestor's Cup? Brewing Beer in the Bronze Age Aegean."
1:40-2:00 Jason Kennedy (Central Michigan University), "Alcohol and Labor Mobilization at Ubaid Period Kenan Tepe."
2:00-2:20 Elsa Perruchini, Claudia Glatz, and Jaime Toney (University of Glasgow), "Investigating Ancient Drinking Practices Through Organic Residue Analysis of Second Millennium BC Ceramic Vessels from the Upper Diyala Region, Iraq."
2:20–2:30 Response: Tom Hardy (Anthropology)

2:30–2:50 Coffee Break

Session 3 (2:50–4:20)

Chair: Dr. Meg Kassabaum (Anthropology)
2:50-3:10 Ian Kinman (Fordham University), "Passion Offerings: The Strong Medicine in the Synoptic Cocktails."
3:10-3:30 Katherine Burge (University of Pennsylvania), "An Old Babylonian Wine Archive from Tell Leilan."
3:30-3:50 Jason Hagler (University of Georgia), "Drunken Kings, Bronze Animals, and a Speaker for the Dead: The Role of Alcohol in Ancient Chinese Ritual."
3:50–4:10 Tanying Lu (University of Pennsylvania), "A General Survey of the Western Zhou's (1046–771 BC) Attitude toward the Use of Jiu: What is Reflected in the Literary and Archaeological Sources?"
4:10–4:20 Response: Bret Langendorfer (History of Art)

4:20–4:30 Break

Session 4 (4:30–6:00)

Chair: Dr. Chantel White (Penn Museum)
4:30-4:50 Crystal Dozier (Texas A&M University), "Microfossil Advancements in Ancient Fermentation Studies."
4:50-5:10 Fabian Toro (University of Pennsylvania), "Insights and Limitations of Experimental Archaeology to Understanding Alcohol Production in the Ancient World."
5:10–5:30 Lucas Proctor and Alexia Smith (University of Connecticut), "Archaeobotanical Evidence for Wine Production/Storage from a Small Iron Age Domestic Structure at Gund-i Topzawa, Iraqi Kurdistan."
5:30–5:50 Annie Chan (University of Pennsylvania), "Milking Alcohol: The Artisanal Production of Milk Liquor and the Heritage of Pastoral Food Cultures."
5:50–6:00 Response and Concluding Remarks: Darren P. Ashby (NELC)