New Year's Eve is a time of celebration, during which many partiers celebrate with a glass or two of bubbly. Revelers should consider themselves part of a long line of tradition. According to two recent studies, people have been drinking alcohol in social settings for at least as early as the dawn of civilization, stretching back to around 11,000 years ago.
The studies have been documented in two separate journals: the November issue of Levant and the December issue of Antiquity. One article describes the evidence of troughs used to brew beer at the Göbekli Tepe in Turkey. The other article reveals how researchers believe that they have uncovered the archaeological remains of a primitive 3,500-year-old beer brewery and feasting hall, complete with kilns likely used to dry malt before the fermentation of yeast, in Cyprus.
Though researchers have known about early humans' cultivation of grain for years, they have remained divided about the purpose, LiveScience reveals. Some argued that wheat was first used to make bread, while others believed that the technique was first cultivated to make beer. Some believe that beer was made as early as 11,500 years ago. Because it was so difficult to cultivate grains, beer would have been prepared for special occasions, like feasts.
Indeed, the sites at Cyprus and Turkey included feasting halls. In order to test the hypothesis, the team involved with the site in Cyprus recreated the kilns in order to make barley. The end result was a cloudy beer with a bizarre taste. The site at Turkey has been linked to a time period even further in the past - nearly 11,000 years ago. The site contained a kitchen with large troughs that could have held up to 42 gallons, or 160 liters, of liquid. Testing revealed that the troughs contained oxalates, a byproduct of the fermentation from grain into alcohol.
"[Alcoholic] beverages were also used to oil the wheels of business and pleasure in much the same way as today. Work brought communities together for tasks such as bringing in the harvest or erecting special buildings," Lindy Crewe, who led the excavation in Cyprus, said to the Cyprus Mail. "Instead of payment, participants are rewarded with a special feast, often involving quantities of alcohol which also transformed the work from a chore into a social event. The people of the Bronze Age, it seems, were well aware of the relaxing properties of alcohol."
Published by Medicaldaily.com