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'History Frontiers' explores ancient fermented drinks

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The October lecture for “History Frontiers” is “Uncorking the Past: The Quest For Wine, Beer and Extreme Fermented Beverages,” by Dr. Patrick E. McGovern of University of Pennsylvania, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 8 at the Duane Smith Auditorium. A book sale and signing by Dr. McGovern will be offered after the lecture.
Fermented beverages have probably been with the human race from its beginning in Africa.
McGovern will describe how enterprising ancestors were in concocting a host of beverages from a vast array of natural products (honey, grape, barley, rice, sorghum, chocolate, etc.) as humans spread around the planet, which had profound effects on cultural and biological development.
Some of these beverages, including the earliest alcoholic beverage from China (Chateau Jiahu), the mixed drink served at the King Midas funerary feast (Midas Touch) and the chocolate beverage (Theobroma), have been re-created by Dogfish Head Brewery, shedding light on how ancestors made them and providing a taste sensation and a means to travel back in time.
Dr. 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 human ancestry, medical practice and ancient cuisines and beverages.
Dr. McGovern is known as the “Indiana Jones of Ancient Ales, Wines, and Extreme Beverages.” He is also the author of “Ancient Wine: The Search for the Origins of Viniculture” (2003).
For further information, visit Dr. McGovern’s website: penn.museum/sites/biomoleculararchaeology.
The Los Alamos Historical Society is offering its 2013-2014 lecture series, “History Frontiers.” The October lecture is a special membership drive at the Duane Smith Auditorium. Admission is $10 for non-members and free for LA Historical Society members. Visit losalamoshistory.org for general information on the society and to join.