Israel: Evidence of ancient beer consumption unearthed

i24NEWS

3 min read
Aerial view of the University of Haifa, in Haifa, Israel, on September 20, 2018.
Matanya Tausig/FLASH90Aerial view of the University of Haifa, in Haifa, Israel, on September 20, 2018.

The team says this shows 'beer production and consumption using strainers may have been regularly practiced'

A joint team of researchers from Israel and the United States say they uncovered evidence of ancient social beer consumption after examining cereal grains at a 7,000 year old archeological site.

The study, led by Prof. Danny Rosenberg from Israel’s University of Haifa and Stanford University’s Prof. Li Liu, analyzed grain remnants in pottery strainers and concluded the clay tools were used in the production of beer.

Researchers looked into the strainers at two Copper Age sites - 7,000 year old Tel Tsaf, an ancient settlement in the Jordan Valley, and Peqi‘in Cave, a burial site located in the Upper Galilee which dates back to 4500 to 3900 BCE.

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“The microfossils (phytoliths, starch granules, yeast cells, and fibers) indicate that both strainers once contained fermented beverages made from Triticeae (wheat/barley), Panicoideae, and Cyperus tubers,” the scientists explained in the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology. 

They said that “these results suggest that beer production and consumption using strainers may have been regularly practiced” during this period of time.

The finding marks the earliest instance of evidence on the social consumption of beer in the Levant before the Bronze Age, according to The Times of Israel.

Additionally, the researchers reported that the alcoholic beverage was significant to gatherings in ancient Israel, and indicated a higher level of social complexity.

“Beer appears to have played an important role in various social settings for communication among social groups as well as between the living and the deceased,” the experts concluded.

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