National Geographic : 1941 Oct
The Vintage of 1400 B. C. ON PAGE 495 it is no longer spring on the blood-drenched field of Armageddon, but late summer on the Egyptian estate of the Royal Scribe, Kha'-em-het. The purple grapes, hanging ripe from the extensive arbor of the wealthy official, are being harvested by Kha"-em-het's farm hands. Among the laborers we can recognize, besides the native Egyptians, a negro from Central Africa, a bearded Semite from the dis trict of the Lebanon, and a blond Caucasian from the northern shores of the Mediterranean-a rather cosmopoli tan crew. Carried in baskets to the pottery (?) wine press, the grapes are trodden by a singing group of men and boys, who, to prevent themselves from slipping in the juicy mash, are clinging to ropes suspended from a framework. The new wine is scooped from the catch-basin and promptly "bottled" in large pottery amphorae, the interiors of which have been coated with a non-porous film of resin. The jars are capped with heavy mud stoppers, pierced with vents to prevent the fermenting liquid from bursting its containers or "blowing the cork." The stoppers, while still damp, are stamped in several places with the name of the estate or its owner, and on the sides of the jars is written the date of bottling. The trans- portation of each of the heavy vessels tothewine cellar is accomplished by means of anintricately netted pot-sling, carried on a stout pole bytwo men. In the arbor we see aman pouring water into the trenches from which springthe roots ofthevines. At the right a peasant is irrigatingthe near-by field with theaid of a "shadfif," or well-sweep, aMesopotamian invention, introduced into Egypt in the XVIIIth Dynasty and still in common use. Second in popularity only tobeer, wine was manufactured and consumed on a large scale by theancient Egyptians from at least as early as the first historic dynasty (3000 B. c.). In addition to thedomestic grape, palm, date, and pomegranate wines, foreignvintages, imported inbulk from Asia, were also much in favor with thediscerning drinkers of the dynastic era. Always a farmer at heart, thewealthy Egyptian official seems never to have let hislove forhiscountry estates wane during the centuries of Egyptian history. Over and over again in their sculptured orbrightly painted tomb-chapels at Thebes great men like Khat-em-het areshown inspecting all the activities of theirfarms, frequently taking their lunches with them and making aday ofit.