World's oldest industrial brewery unearthed in Egypt
Beer is one of humankind’s oldest prepared beverages, with artifacts and evidence of its production dating back thousands of years. Shedding further light on its long and storied history are new findings from archeologists working in Egypt who have uncovered the world's first industrial-scale brewery, which they believe was pumping out thousands of liters of beer for the ancient kings of the region.
In the past few years, we've seen archeologists make discoveries that have reshaped our understanding of beer's history, tracing its roots via 5,000-year-old vessels and funnels, and even recreating these ancient brews in the lab. One discovery in Israel unearthed evidence of beer production that was found to be around 13,000 years old, making it the oldest example that we know of.
The beer-making infrastructure uncovered recently in Abydos, one of ancient Egypt’s oldest cities, doesn’t quite date back that far, but does paint a picture of serious production in the area. The discovery is more than a century in the making, stemming from a 1912 dig in which archeologists found what appeared to be a set of eight grain kilns, arranged in a neat row, among other tombs and structures in the area dating back to 3100 to 2700 BCE.
In the meantime, artifacts from other sites in the area indicated that these kilns were used for beer production. So over the past few years, archeologists returned to the original site and continued excavating to unveil the full extent of this brewing operation and collecting samples for dating and analysis.
They now know that this facility would have been capable of producing more than 22,000 liters (5,800 gal) of beer at a time, an order of magnitude greater than anything else in operation during this time in ancient Egypt. Located in a sacred desert that was exclusively the domain of Egypt’s early kings, the team says the facility served as an important part of royal expression during a critical time in the nation’s history.
“We can now add to these better-known symbols of early royal power an industrial production site built on an unprecedented scale to support royal ritual at ancient Abydos,” writes the University of Pennsylvania’s Wendy Doyon, who took part in the North Abydos expedition.
Source: Abydos Archeology