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14 May 2005
Cypriots made Mediterranean's first wine

Maria-Rosaria Belgiorno, an Italian archaeologist, said Cyprus was the first Mediterranean country to make wine. She uncovered evidence during an archaeological dig near the southern coastal town of Limassol that Cypriots produced wine up to 6,000 years ago. "At Pyrgos we found two jugs used for wine and the seeds of the grapes. It's amazing. And at Erimi, of the 18 pots we looked at, 12 were used for wine between 3,500 BCE and 3,000 BCE," Belgiorno said.
     It was previously believed that the Mediterranean wine-making tradition originated in what is now Turkey and Syria, or with worshippers of the Greek god of wine, Dionysus. The world's first wine is thought to have been made from rice in China around 9,000 years ago, followed by a grape-based alcohol not entirely dissimilar to modern day claret in what is today's Iran 7,000 years ago.  
     In earlier excavations, Belgiorno unearthed evidence suggesting that Cyprus was the site of the world's oldest perfume factory, with fragrances produced and exported overseas some 4,000 years ago.

Source: AFP, Yahoo! News (13 May 2005), TurkishPress.com (14 May 2005)

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