Ancient Egyptian Brewery Uncovered—in Israel

Pottery shows Egyptians reached farther north than previously known
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 30, 2015 8:08 AM CDT
Ancient Egyptian Brewery Uncovered—in Israel
Pits discovered at a construction site in Tel Aviv, Israel.   (Israel Antiquities Authority)

A construction site in Tel Aviv has given up evidence of a bit of 5,000-year-old revelry in the form of an early Bronze Age brewery in 17 pits dating from 3500BC to 3000BC, Haaretz reports. Though the pits would have stored agricultural produce, they were "all full of findings, large ceramic vessels, jars, pots, and basins," says dig supervisor Diego Barkan. Some appear to be local pieces, but others "did not match the local traditions" as they "had straw or other organic matter added to strengthen them." Instead, they belonged to Egyptians who used the vessels to make beer, experts say. Most interesting, however, is that fragments of the basins are the first evidence of an "Egyptian occupation" in Tel Aviv and "the northernmost evidence we have of an Egyptian presence in the early Bronze Age," Barkan adds, per Arutz Sheva.

"Now we know that the ancient Egyptians also appreciated what the Tel Aviv region had to offer, and were able to enjoy a glass of beer, just like today's Tel Avivians," he tells Ynetnews. Beer was known as "the national drink of the Egyptians" in the Bronze Age and was made from a partially baked mixture of barley and water that fermented in the sun before fruit was added for flavor. The basins discovered in Tel Aviv were made "in an Egyptian tradition," but a study will determine "if the vessels were brought from Egypt or whether the Egyptian population imitated the vessels they knew in Egypt," Barkan says. The site also revealed a 6,000-year-old copper dagger and flint, and oysters from the Mediterranean and Red seas. (An underground city has been found in Turkey.)

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