World’s Oldest Brewery Found in Prehistoric Cave in Israel

This undated handout picture obtained by AFP on September 13, 2018 from Haifa University shows archaeologists at an excavation in a cave near Raqefet, in the Carmel Mountains near the northern Israeli city of Haifa, searching for evidence of beer brewing in a Natufian burial cave dating back 13,000 years ago, possibly the earliest alcohol production known. – The Natufians were hunter-gatherers who lived in the eastern Mediterranean region 15,000 to 11,500 years ago, and began settling down rather than roving from place to place. (Photo by Dani NADEL / Haifa University / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE – MANDATORY CREDIT “AFP PHOTO / HAIFA UNIVERSITY / DANI NADEL” – NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS – DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

Researchers say they have found the world’s oldest brewery, with residue of 13,000-year-old beer, in a prehistoric cave near Haifa in Israel.

The discovery was made while they were studying a burial site for semi-nomadic hunter-gatherers.

Brewing beer was thought to go back 5,000 years, but the latest discovery may turn beer history on its head.

The findings also suggest beer was not necessarily a surplus of making bread as previously thought.

The researchers say they cannot tell which came first, and in October’s issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, they suggest the beer was brewed for ritual feasts to honour the dead.

“This accounts for the oldest record of man-made alcohol in the world,” Li Liu, a Stanford University professor who led the research team, told Stanford News.

Ms Liu said they were looking for clues into what plant foods the Natufian people – who lived between the Paleolithic and Neolithic periods – were eating, and during the search they discovered the traces of a wheat-and-barley-based alcohol.

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