Patrick McGovern— 2011 honorable mention Felicia A. Holton Book Award

Award Citation:

The Archaeological Institute of America and the Center for American Archaeology are pleased give an Honorable Mention in the 2011 Felicia A. Holton Book Award to Patrick E. McGovern for Uncorking the Past: The Quest for Wine, Beer and Other Alcoholic Beverages  (Berkeley 2009).

McGovern’s book takes the reader on a worldwide tour through the millennia in search of the origins of fermented beverages. At a Neolithic site in China, McGovern analyzes the residue in ancient pottery jars to find a grog dating back to 7000 B.C.E. In Iran, he discovers the first evidence of wine from grapes and recognizes jars used to make barley beer ca. 3500 B.C.E. His exploration takes him along the Silk Road, to Europe, to Africa, and to the New World.

McGovern combines archaeological, chemical, textual, and artistic data to elucidate the universal allure of alcoholic beverages. He posits that cereals were domesticated for their alcoholic potential as well as for use as a food staple.

The Archaeological Institute of America and Center for American Archaeology award an Honorable Mention in recognition of McGovern’s use of scientific techniques to extract new information and thereby to enhance our understanding of human history.