main article image
Shutterstock/Valentyn Volkov

Ancient Egyptian Beer-Making Pottery Found in Israel

MYLES GOUGH
2 APR 2015

Ancient Egyptians, young and old, rich and poor, loved their beer. And apparently, they took this love affair on the road.

Hundreds of fragments of pottery used by Egyptians to make beer more than 5,000 years ago have been unearthed in Tel Aviv, Israel, during the excavation of a building site.

 

The team of archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) found 17 pits on the site in downtown Tel Aviv. These pits contained pieces of ceramic jugs and basins crafted in an Egyptian style, which were likely used to prepare beer.

The finding, which was announced this week by the IAA, shows that Egyptians travelled - and likely settled - farther north than was previously thought, and of course, exported their custom of making and drinking beer.

“On the basis of previously conducted excavations in the region, we knew there is an Early Bronze Age site here, but this excavation is the first evidence we have of an Egyptian occupation in the center of Tel Aviv at that time,” Diego Barkan, an archaeologist leading the excavation on behalf of the IAA, said in the statement.

“This is also the northernmost evidence we have of an Egyptian presence in the early Bronze Age,” Barkan said.

As Megan Gannon from Live Science reports, the team knew the recovered artefacts were Egyptian because “the clay that was used to create these basins had been mixed with straw or other organic materials as strengthening agents. This method wasn't used in the local pottery industry in Israel, but straw-tempered vessels have been found before at other Egyptian sites — notably, the Egyptian administrative building that was excavated at En Besor in southern Israel, Barkan explained.”

Beer was a staple of the ancient Egyptian diet. It was offered to the gods, and it was sometimes used in place of currency, as a wage for labourers. And interestingly, beer in ancient Egypt was brewed and sold almost exclusively by women.

We’re always partial to a good story about alcohol, such as the Scottish whiskey that spent more than a 1,000 days orbiting Earth, all in the name of science.

And back in 2010, five bottles of beer and 168 bottles of champagne were found in a submerged schooner off the coast of Finland. It was believed to be the oldest batch of still-drinkable beer, and now, a local Finnish brewery is working out how to recreate the 19th Century beverage by studying the bacteria it contains.

I’ll take a glass of the stuff made this century, thanks!

Source: Live Science