New discovery from study of finds from the protohistoric village of Canale Anfora in Terzo di Aquileia. The oldest case ever ascertained of this drink consumed in the region, one of the most ancient in Northern Italy

Udine University has identified evidence dating back more than 3000 years that proves the consumption of wine in Friuli Venezia Giulia. This is the oldest ascertained case in the region and one of the oldest in northern Italy. The information has emerged from study of material dug up by archaeologists from the university in Friuli on the site of the protohistoric “Canale Anfora” village from the Bronze Age (1700-1300 B.C.E.) in Ca’ Baredi, in Terzo di Aquileia.

The discovery: three thousand years ago they were already drinking wine in Friuli
Confirmation comes from analysis of several pottery samples that have found residues of the drink in an abandoned cup, together with various containers for eating, on the edges of a hearth dating back to between the fourteenth and thirteenth century B.C.E. (end of the Middle Bronze Age, start of the Late Bronze Age).
Chemical and chromatographic analyses carried out by Alessandra Pecci from Barcelona University have enabled identification of the various types of organic residues impregnating the sides of the vases used for manipulation, cooking and consumption of food and drinks.

“While we used to think,” explains Elisabetta Borgna, scientific director of the dig in Ca’ Baredi, “that wine arrived together with the practice of banqueting during the phase of contact between the Greeks and the Etruscans in the early centuries of the first millennium B.C.E., today we know that it was the Mycenaeans who most probably brought the cultivation of vines and olive trees to Italian communities in southern Italy during the Bronze Age, in the second half of the second millennium B.C.E., whence this knowhow spread northwards.”
The opinion shared by experts is, in fact, that wine was introduced to the Central Mediterranean and Italy by people from the Aegean.

“The discovery in Ca’ Baredi,” emphasises Borgna, “in itself is of great value, representing an important piece in the jigsaw that is the long-distance relationships between Mediterranean and Northern-Adriatic regions, long before the arrival of the Romans in the second century B.C.E..”
The archaeological mission at the protohistoric site of Canale Anfora is part of the “Aquileia prima di Aquileia” (Aquileia before Aquileia) project carried out by this university in Friuli in collaboration with the Superintendence of archaeology, fine arts and landscape for Friuli Venezia Giulia.

The project, promoted by the department of humanistic and cultural heritage studies at the university, sees scientific management by Elisabetta Borgna and coordination by Susi Corazza, head of the university’s Prehistory and Protohistory Laboratory.


Research at Canale Anfora
Archaeological studies by Udine University in Ca’ Baredi, carried out in 2013 and 2015, brought to light this ancient settlement at the edge of the lake, on a rise formed by the ancient bed of the River Torre. In the Bronze Age, this area must have already been intensely farmed, evidenced by conspicuous traces of large containers used for preserving food and findings of plant macrofossils, which had so far however only recorded cereals and fruit trees as the species cultivated. Of particular importance was the discovery of a large number of hearths and ovens that, concentrated in selected areas of the settlement, would seem to have been used for domestic cooking and preparation.
Activities carried out in a community context, most likely for celebratory events of interest to the whole community and the inhabitants of the surrounding area.


Ca’ Baredi a precursor of Aquileia?
Now, in the light of this new discovery, experts from this university in Friuli will continue their archaeological studies of the settlement in Canale Anfora.
In fact, future findings and analyses may clarify if contacts between people in the Mediterranean and those on the coasts of the upper Adriatic may have promoted an initial selection of vines to refine the local wild grapes that, as we know from finds at the Sammardenchia site(Pozzuolo del Friuli), were present in Friuli Venezia Giulia in Neolithic times. “The vocation of Roman Aquileia for production, trade and consumption of wine,” stresses Corazza, “handed down from ancient sources, could in this way see its origins traced precisely to Ca’ Baredi.”


Il messaggero Veneto – Edizione Udine (15 March 2017)

Il Messaggero Veneto