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Karlena Tomc-Barbosa

PhD candidate in Archaeology at Durham University

Research Topic
The Cultivation, Consumption, and Culture of Wine during the Late Bronze Age in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Abstract
My approach to the subject of wine in the ancient Near East differs from previous material that has been researched in a seemingly one-dimensional manner. There is undoubtedly a large variety of work in the areas of viticulture, cultural interaction, trade, agriculture, and so forth, but it is rare to find combinations of said topics or even an all-encompassing work that shows the full impact of wine on the Near Eastern region.

Furthermore, these single pointed arguments rest on literary, historical, and/or archaeological evidence alone. Though, there is nothing inherently wrong with this line of inquiry, but it does not provide the opportunity for a deeper discussion of the topic in terms of a broader cultural or anthropological perspective, i.e. theories of alcohol culture, material culture, and concept of globalization, or rather critical fetishism, as well as examining the roles of wine within each individual culture and regionally. Wine permeates all of these civilizations in one-way or another, and it is an ideal connector of the Near East and its inhabitants.

In the end, the goal is not to compile an exhaustive inventory of wine in regards to archaeological and literary evidence, but rather to devise ways of understanding the Near Eastern circulation and accumulation of value that do not place anyone single civilization as central actors. Instead of looking at the cultures as the primary focus, the emphasis is rather on the subject of wine and its various characteristics that are representative across the many Near Eastern societies. In doing so, a broader frame of reference will develop showing the deeper networks that connect the region during the Late Bronze Age with the interaction between cultures highlighting the use of a single commodity, and in this case, it is wine.