Vitiviniculture in Tunisian history and heritage: an important contribution from a BESTMEDGRAPE team member
Are you curious about the role of vitiviniculture in Tunisian history and heritage?
The BESTMEDGRAPE project manager in Tunisia, from the partner UTICA (Union Tunisienne de l'Industrie, du Commerce et de l'Artisanat) Boutheina Gharbi, wrote an interesting article entitled "Architecture et installations vitivinicoles en Tunisie. Le thème de la vitiviniculture dans le patrimoine culturel et architectural tunisien. Les caves et les domaines vitivinicoles de l’antiquité à nos jours".
Boutheina is also an independent researcher at the University of Manouba, Faculty of Letters, Arts and Humanities of Manouba, Laboratory of Mediterranean Archeology and Architecture and the article has been published on Al-Sabîl - Revue d’Histoire, d’Archéologie et d’architecture maghrébines.
Alongside cereals and olive oil, vitiviniculture has been, since antiquity, in Tunisia as in the rest of the Mediterranean, an important component of the country's economy and culture.
In this article, she presents the history of vitiviniculture and the vitivinicultural architectural heritage in Tunisia during antiquity and the Middle Ages.
The vine has existed in North Africa in the wild since the Ice Age and more precisely the Quaternary glaciation. Since then, wild vines, or Vitis sylvestris, have continued to prevail in forests and maquis, revealing a distribution over almost the entire territory and a considerably rich biodiversity.
As for the taming of this plant by the African tribes, history provides very few documents. It would also be to the Phoenicians established in Carthage that viticulture as well as the work of the land in general would fall. Vitiviniculture thus prospered with the Punics, then with the Romans and continued even during the Middle Ages, before experiencing a decline that lasted until the 19th century on the eve of the French Protectorate.
For more details, the article is available online here, enjoy the reading!