The History and Archaeology of Olive Oil in the Mediterranean with Sarah Wolferstan

The History and Archaeology of Olive Oil in the Mediterranean with Sarah Wolferstan


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Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a key ingredient of the Mediterranean Diet, listed by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural World Heritage. It has been used as food, medicine, cosmetics, sacred ointment, perfume, fuel, and currency: literally oiling this region’s commerce for over four thousand years.

This seminar brings together archaeological, mythological, historical, and genetic evidence of this iconic tree, the Olea Europea, with origins in the Levant and whose cultivation was established throughout the Mediterranean. When we eat olive oil, we are tasting the results of thousands of years' worth of farmers' decisions and practices that have made olive trees what they are today.

Many farmers, especially in marginal areas, still use age-old techniques, but innovation has changed both the product and its production during the last 80 years. This long-term view of food traditions, touching on more recent socio-political and technological events, with examples from Greece, Italy, and Spain, helps us understand the trends in Extra Virgin Olive Oil production in the Med today.

Led by an expert on Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Cultural Heritage Studies, Sarah Wolferstan, this interactive seminar will introduce participants to the archaeology and history of Extra Virgin Olive Oil in the Mediterranean. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased knowledge of how this symbol of the Mediterranean diet has been cultivated and used over the last four millennia.

Sarah Wolferstan has a BA Hons degree in Archaeology and Anthropology from Cambridge University (1999) and an MA in Cultural Heritage Studies from the Institute of Archaeology, University College London (2005), where she now works on European strategic partnership projects. Sarah first visited Sicily as an archaeology student, and after a stretch in the UK, she returned to Italy with her Sicilian husband in order to manage and improve the family's groves. She qualified as an Olive Oil taster in 2015, and returned to the UK where she set up a company - Alivu Ltd - to import the family's oil, running tasting and educational events in person and online. She has taught on Cultural Heritage and Heritage Management MA courses and is currently a visiting scholar on the Managing Archaeological Sites MA, and lectures on archaeology and olive oil for various foodie organisations, including ‘Terroir Hospitality’, and the ‘Cook the Farm’ intensive course run by the ‘Anna Tasca Lanza Cooking School’ in Sicily.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 3 reviews
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Brooke Berry (Louisville, US)
Sarah Wolferstan lectures are light to these COVID days!!

Sarah Wolferstan’s extraordinary knowledge and unicorn level ability to bring to life the day to day of millennia ago is such a treasure. While today’s focus was olive oil, I would join Ms Wolferstan for any topic as the joy she emits imprints the information she shares. I look forward to learning more from her and bringing friends and family to do so! I will also question each and every bottle or vat of olive oil peddled my way. My hope is that the more we are all informed about what we consume, the higher quality options we will be offered and that more protection will be extended to thoughtful producers globally. Thank you Sarah for contributing to that!

C
C. (Jupiter, US)
In Depth Info from an Expert!

Sarah’s presentation about the amazing olive was informative, interesting and entertaining. Her effective presentation included well-researched information that would be hard to come by outside of an academic setting. I learned new things from the comfort of my desk, and I can’t wait for her next webinar!

S
Smaragda Touloupa (Athens, GR)
A genuine olive expert!

Sarah is so obviously personally invested in the theme, but also has the background, knowledge and passion to link everything together and present the facts. At last a person who knows about olives and olive oil, an ambassador of such an important capital of our cultures - and this comes from a Greek!

Customer Reviews

Based on 3 reviews
100%
(3)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
B
Brooke Berry (Louisville, US)
Sarah Wolferstan lectures are light to these COVID days!!

Sarah Wolferstan’s extraordinary knowledge and unicorn level ability to bring to life the day to day of millennia ago is such a treasure. While today’s focus was olive oil, I would join Ms Wolferstan for any topic as the joy she emits imprints the information she shares. I look forward to learning more from her and bringing friends and family to do so! I will also question each and every bottle or vat of olive oil peddled my way. My hope is that the more we are all informed about what we consume, the higher quality options we will be offered and that more protection will be extended to thoughtful producers globally. Thank you Sarah for contributing to that!

C
C. (Jupiter, US)
In Depth Info from an Expert!

Sarah’s presentation about the amazing olive was informative, interesting and entertaining. Her effective presentation included well-researched information that would be hard to come by outside of an academic setting. I learned new things from the comfort of my desk, and I can’t wait for her next webinar!

S
Smaragda Touloupa (Athens, GR)
A genuine olive expert!

Sarah is so obviously personally invested in the theme, but also has the background, knowledge and passion to link everything together and present the facts. At last a person who knows about olives and olive oil, an ambassador of such an important capital of our cultures - and this comes from a Greek!