Vladimir Stissi

Grant Type

Workshop Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Amsterdam, U. of

Grant number

Gr. CONF-908

Approve Date

October 3, 2022

Project Title

Stissi, Vladimir (Amsterdam, U. of) "Consuming the Past: Vines and ancient wines"

What does it mean to consume the past? Across the lands of the former Roman Empire in Europe, from Spain and France to Serbia and Romania, local vineyards are marketing their wines on a perceived connection to the Roman past. Despite the fact that these places often had pre-Roman local wine traditions, it is the Roman wine that sells. At the same time, archaeologists are using the latest scientific techniques like isotopic analysis or ancient DNA to research the origins of these vines, producing narratives that lend themselves to claims of vines being ‘the first’ or ‘the oldest’. Classicism also abounds, as researchers frequently reinforce tropes of wine belonging solely to the Athenian symposium and to Roman imperial banquets, rather then recognizing the universal presence of wine in Antiquity. In bringing together a group of archaeologists, anthropologists, heritage and wine experts, we will begin an important conversation, reflecting and rethinking both academic and ‘popular’ engagement with ancient wines and their modern counterparts. It is vital that we develop a critical understanding of ancient wine drinking cultural and modern claims of ‘consuming’ the past that accounts for the ways research, wine marketing and government-driven heritage policies are intertwined.