There’s more to a vessel than meets the eye: Organic residue analysis of ‘wine’ containers from shipwrecks and settlements of ancient Cyprus (4th–1st century bce)

Lisa Briggs, Stella Demesticha, Susan Katzev, Helena Wylde Swiny, Oliver E. Craig, Léa Drieu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Abstract Despite growing evidence to the contrary, wine remains the assumed content of many types of ancient pottery. Vessels from the Kyrenia and Mazotos shipwrecks, and Yeronisos island presumed to have contained wine were subjected to three different extraction protocols to test the assumption that these vessels were used to import and serve wine. Chemical extracts reveal grapevine products but also other fruit juice, beeswax and plant oil, sometimes mixed with grapevine products due to intentional mixing or reuse. Biomarkers detected in sediment samples from Mazotos and Yeronisos demonstrate why quantification is vital. Analyses show that even seemingly identical ceramics from the same shipwreck contained different commodities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)779-797
Issue number3
Early online date6 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022

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© 2021 The Authors. Archaeometry © 2021 University of Oxford. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details


  • amphora
  • organic residue
  • plant oil
  • shipwreck
  • syringic acid
  • tartaric acid
  • wine

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