Ancient wine bar discovered

18th February, 2016 by Rupert Millar

Archaeologists in the south of France have uncovered a tavern dating back to the 1st century AD.

lattara archaeologyA team excavating the ancient town of Lattara in the Languedoc uncovered the 2,100 year-old tavern, which is the oldest example of its type yet found in the western Mediterranean.

The presence of three ovens and some grist mills initially led them to believe it was a bakery but in a newly uncovered room the remains of benches, a central hearth, animal bones and broken drinking vessels suggested it was an ancient on-trade site instead.

The menu was likely varied as both fish and animal bones – mostly from sheep and cattle – were uncovered, as were numerous drinking bowls that were likely imported from Italy.

Although the tavern is Roman, southern France already had a strong wine culture before their arrival thanks to a strong Greek influence. The local Celts were famous for their love of wine, which they bought from the Greek colonies such as Massilia.

Judging from what is known of other ancient taverns, this one probably served a variety of wines of varying quality levels.

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