Chianti is a region in Tuscany that is famous for its fantastic landscapes. However, it has always been more popular for the fine quality red wines that are produced in the region and generally marketed as the Chianti wine. The tradition of cultivating vines in the Chianti region is known to go back centuries, all the way back to the time when Etruscans were known to occupy the area. Written evidence has also confirmed that the Etruscans who inhabited the Chianti region before the Roman Empire not only cultivated vines, but also conducted grafting experiments and created hybrids.
Vine Vera came across a startling piece of news which mentioned that archaeologists might have actually uncovered the ancestors of the Chianti wine in a 105-foot-deep ancient well that was recently discovered in the Chiantishire area of Tuscany. The well was excavated in Cetamura, an ancient hilltop that is located close to Gaiole in the Siena province.
The well is being excavated as a part of a project that has been carried out for the past four years under the supervision of Nancy de Grummond, a classics professor at Florida State University, along with the Archaeological Superintendency of Tucany and the archaeological firm Ichnos. The team of archaeologists has finally managed to unearth a treasure trove of artifacts that span over 15 centuries and touch the Etruscan, Roman and medieval era civilizations that occupied Tuscany.
Some the artifacts that have been uncovered from this historic well include hundreds of votive cups, approximately 70 bronze vessels, silver coins, several statuettes (including a beautifully carved bronze statuette of a calf), animal bones and pieces that were used in fortune games. Most of the items found in the well are believed to be sacred offerings, as sources of water were regarded to be sacred in the ancient times. Some of the most notable artifacts are the 14 Etruscan and Roman bronze vessels that have different shapes and sizes and have been designed with different decorations. One of the Etruscan vessels is actually a wine bucket that has been beautifully decorated and tooled with figurines of Skylla, the ancient marine monster.
However, the most precious materials to be discovered in this historic well are the 500 waterlogged grape seeds. These seeds were found in three different levels of the well, including the Roman and Etruscan levels. The pips are perfectly preserved and they might even prove to be an ancestor of the modern day Chianti wine. Moreover, these pips are also expected to provide grand insights into the history of viticulture in an area that has always been famous for its bold red wines.
Vine Vera discovered that the archaeologists managed to put the grape pips into context because a number of objects that were unearthed were associated with wine drinking and a number of ceramic vessels were actually used to store wine. These discoveries are extremely exciting for anyone associated with the world of wines because they could offer great insights into some of the very first wine making techniques.