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Evidence of 13,000-Year-Old Beer Found in Israel

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Israel beer brewingSTANFORD, CALIFORNIA—According to a report in The Times of Israel, evidence of beer brewing by the Natufians has been found on stone mortars dating to between 11,700 and 13,700 years ago. The mortars were found in northern Israel, near Raqefet Cave. Evidence of bread baked by the Natufians between 11,600 and 14,600 years ago was recently found in northeastern Jordan. The researchers, led by Li Liu of Stanford University, said they cannot be sure which of the two foodstuffs is older, but both the beer and the bread were probably used for feasting, and predate the known production of domesticated grains in the Levant by about 4,000 years. Analysis of the residues on the mortars suggest the beer was made with seven different species of plants, including wheat or barley, oats, legumes, and bast fibers such as flax. The scientists think the Natufians first germinated the grain and produced malt, heated the mash, and then fermented it with wild yeast, resulting in a thin mash or gruel. For more, go to “A Prehistoric Cocktail Party.”

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