9th Experimental Archaeology Conference poster – Indelicato et al
Pitch and wine in the ancient world: from Bruttium to Etna
Mario Indelicato (University of Catania ), Daniele Malfitana (Institute for Archaeological and Monumental Heritage of National Research Council ), Giuseppe Cacciaguerra (Institute for Archaeological and Monumental Heritage of National Research Council)
The project we intend to present is a spin-off of the project ‘Archaeology of wine: a Sicilian experiment’ and it will try to provide archaeologists with a clear picture of the various bituminous or resinous substances, vegetable or mineral, used in antiquity for multiple purposes: from the preparation of adhesives to medicaments production for human and animal use; in particular, we will focus on the use as a sealant for containers used to carry wine, especially in Roman times.
Famous and prized in the ancient world was the so-called produced “pix Bruttia”, that is, in the mountains of Regio III Lucania et Bruttii (modern Calabria) i.e. the Silae Silva (now Sila) rich in tree species naturally endowed with abundant resin (mainly Pinus nigra laricio) and exploited up to our times. However, in all places with woods or forests with trees suitable for the extraction of resin or pitch existed in the Mediterranean area local productions, abundant or less abundant; from ancient and modern sources we know that even the woods of Etna were a district for the production of these substances.
Using as fundamental support Latin written sources, but also an important ethnographic and scientific aid, our aim is, therefore, to perform a small production of ‘pitch’ coming from woods of Etna. We will use it then to make the wine vats waterproof. These vats will be used for the first ‘roman harvest’, core of this project.
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