Egypt reveals ‘world’s oldest’ mass-production brewery | Center East Information
The Egyptian-American team finds a highly productive brewery that is believed to be more than 5,000 years old.
A highly productive brewery believed to be more than 5,000 years old was discovered by a team of archaeologists at a burial site in southern Egypt, the Ministry of Tourism said on Saturday.
The website with several “units”, consisting of about 40 clay pots arranged in two rows, was uncovered in North Abydos, Sohag, by a joint Egyptian-American team, the ministry said in a statement on its Facebook page.
The brewery probably dates from the time of King Narmer. She quoted the general secretary of the Supreme Council on Antiquities in Egypt, Mostafa Waziry, adding that the find was “the oldest high-production brewery in the world”.
Narmer, who ruled more than 5,000 years ago, founded the First Dynasty and united Upper and Lower Egypt.
British archaeologists first discovered the brewery’s existence at the beginning of the 20th century, but its location has never been pinpointed, the statement said.
The joint Egyptian-American team “was able to re-localize and uncover its content,” it said.
According to Waziry, the brewery consisted of eight large areas that were used as “units for beer production”.
Each sector contained about 40 clay pots arranged in two rows.
A mixture of grain and water used to make beer was heated in the vats, with each basin “held in place by vertically arranged levers made of clay” in the form of rings.
A flyer image released by the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiques on February 13, 2021 shows the remains of a number of vats used for beer fermentation [Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities / AFP]
New York University archaeologist Matthew Adams, who leads the joint mission with Deborah Vischak of Princeton University, said studies have shown that beer was made on a large scale, around 22,400 liters each.
The brewery “may have been specially built on the site to perform the royal rituals that took place in the burial grounds of the kings of Egypt,” the statement said.
“Excavations at these facilities have found evidence of beer being used in sacrificial rites,” the statement said.
Evidence of beer production in ancient Egypt is not new, and previous discoveries have shed light on this production.
Ceramic fragments that were used by Egyptians to make beer and are 5,000 years old were discovered on a construction site in Tel Aviv, the Israel Antiquities Authority said in 2015.
Abydos, where the latest discovery was made, has produced many treasures over the years and is famous for its temples such as that of Seti I.
In 2000, a team of US archaeologists in Abydos brought to light the earliest known example of an ancient Egyptian solar barge, dating back to the first Pharaonic dynasty about 5,000 years ago.
Egypt has announced several major new discoveries that it hopes will boost tourism, a sector that has suffered multiple blows – from a 2011 riot to the coronavirus pandemic.
A mission near Alexandria recently discovered several mummies from around 2,000 years ago wearing amulets with golden tongues – presumably placed in the mouths of the dead to ensure they could speak in the afterlife.
Authorities had expected 15 million tourists to visit Egypt in 2020, compared to 13 million the previous year, but the virus has kept vacationers away.