Beer may have been the primary motivation of ancient people to grow crops

Stanford University researchers have discovered the oldest archaeological evidence of beer brewing. They believe that in some regions beer may have been a motivating factor for primitive cultures to grow grains.

Teamo³ scientistow from Stanford University under the direction of Professor Li Liu found evidence of the activities of the earliest brewersow. In one of the caves in what is now Israel, researchers have discovered remnants of unprecedented brewing techniques, ktore, scholars believe, appeared much earlier than cereals in the Middle East.

The findings of the scientistsow published in the „Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports” seem to support the hypothesis proposed by the archaeologistoIn more than 60 years ago moThe findings suggest that beer may have been a motivating factor for primitive cultures to domesticate zbothat on someorych areas.

The evidence suggests that thousands of years ago, ancient people belonging to the so-called. Natufian culture – A hunter-gatherer community living in the eastern part of the Mediterranean basinodeer – were beer connoisseurs. Liu and her team analyzed the remains of 13,000-year-old. years old stone mortars, similar to those used in cooking, found in the Raqefet cave cemetery near present-day Haifa, and uncovered evidence of beer brewing.

– This is the oldest archaeological record of man-made alcohol – Liu said. Scientists believe that Natufians brewed beer for ritual feasts, in which theyorych they worshipped their dead.

– The discovery indicates that the production of alcohol was not necessarily the result of the production of agricultural surplus, but it was developed before agriculture until the targetoin ritual and spiritual needs, at least to some extent – explained Liu.

Liu admitted that she was surprised by the results of the laboratory analysis, whichore indicated traces of brewing in probk of the settlements they collectedow. She recalled roalso that the earliest traces of bread baking have been found at a test site in Jordan also associated with the Natufian culture and are 14,000 years old. years. For more on this topic, see Bread was baked as early as 15,000. years ago. Even before the advent of agriculture.

The traces of beer they found may be 11,700 to 13,700 years old. – We were not looking for alcohol on stone mortars, but simply wanted to study what plant products people living at the time might have consumed, as there is very little data available in the archaeological record on the subject – acknowledged Liu.

– Ancient beer, however, was a far cry from what we drink today. Most likely, it was a multi-ingredient concoction, such as oatmeal or a thin mush – acknowledged Jiajing Wang, co-oroposed author. Wang has been helping Liu study ancient alcohol since 2015.

In the Raqefet cave, Liu and Wang discovered the residual remains of starch and microscopic plant particles known as phytoliths, whichore are typical in converting wheat and barley into alcohol.

Scientists are convinced that Natufians used a three-step brewing process. First they prepared maltod barley or wheat by soaking the grains in water and their poMore recent drying. After that, słod was crushed and heated. Eventually it was left to ferment with wild yeast.

To test their hypothesis, the researchers conducted a series of experimentsoin, in ktorych they recreated every step of the ancient brewingow. These experiments allowed them to investigate how theob starch granules changed during the brewing process. The pores thenown them with what they discovered in the cave. They turned out to have a marked resemblance to each other.

They also discovered that the marks left on an ancient stone mortar resembled those of their own experimentsoIn laboratory crushing of seeds of zbo¿, in a process required for brewing.

– Discovery of the activity of ancient brewersow sheds new light on the rituals present in Natufian culture and demonstrates the wide range of technological innovations and social organization Natufianoin,” the authors conclude in the publication.

– Beer production has been an integral part of the ritualoin and feasting, a regulatory mechanism in hierarchical societies – Wang said. She also noted that the discovery of the traceoin cemetery brewing signify the emotional ties these people had with their ancestors.

Sourceobackground: Stanford University, photo. CC BY-SA 4.0/ Wikimedia Commons/ U3144362