Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Wine in the West II


"Not long after this, another distinctive complex of vessels for holding liquids, known as Globular Amphorae, appeared over an area of Europe from Hamburg to Kiev. This new ceramic style was influenced both by Baden pottery and by the cord decoration of the steppe cultures. It is possible, on this line of argument, that their brews may have combined alcohol and Cannabis sativa in a potent infusion!"

"The popularity of heavily decorated drinking vessels continued to spread further northward into central and eastern Europe with the Corded Ware Beakers. These beakers (which are large drinking cups) were decorated with rows of cord impressions; their great cultural importance is attested by the fact that they recur again and again in the burials of the period alongside two other types of distinctive male artifacts--the flint dagger and the shaft-hole stone battle-axe."

[Bell Beaker image: click for credit]

"The final phase (c.2500-2000 B.C.) in the initial diffusion of vessels plausibly associated with the use of alcoholic drinks is marked by the spread of Bell Beakers, which first brought this type of drinking vessel to Britain and the Atlantic coasts and are often found in graves together with archery equipment and the first metal daggers."

--Richard Rudgley, Essential Substances: A Cultural History of Intoxicants in Society © 1993, p.34.

I imagine myself at graveside burdened with the corpse of my father or brother as the wind blows cold from the North Sea. How and why do I choose to bury these objects, drinking cup, bow, dagger and axe, with this man?

Not casually, I believe, was this done, but with thought and conviction. What were those thoughts? What were those convictions? The questions fascinate me.

to be continued...

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