A team of local and American archaeologists has discovered what it believes to be the site of the world’s oldest beer production in the ancient Egyptian city of Abydos, the country’s tourism and antiquities ministry announced on Saturday.
The site, which is believed to be over 5,000 years old and is situated on a funerary ground, is likely to have existed during the reign of King Narmer, the general secretary of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, Mostafa Waziry, said, according to Al Jazeera. King Narmer was the founder of the First Dynasty and he is known to have been behind the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt. Waziry revealed the site is made up of “eight large sectors” that were used as brewery units with each sector consisting of about 40 pots placed in two rows to heat the mixture of grain and water.
“Each basin is held in place by levers made of clay placed vertically in the form of rings,” the statement continued.
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The ministry said the site was first discovered by British archaeologists at the beginning of the 20th century but they could not precisely pinout its exact location, adding that the recent expedition was, however, “able to re-locate and uncover its contents.”
The head of the expedition, Dr. Matthew Adams, said the factory is believed to have been producing 22,400 liters of beer at a time and was probably constructed at its location to provide beer for royal rituals that were being performed for deceased Egyptian kings “inside the funeral facilities.”
“Evidence for the use of beer in sacrificial rites was found during excavations in these facilities,” the statement added.
This is not the first time researchers have unearthed evidence of beer brewery in ancient Egypt, Al Jazeera reported. In 2015, the Israeli Antiquities Authority announced the discovery of pieces of pottery that was used by Egyptians to brew beer. The fragments, which are reportedly about 5000 years old, were found in Tel Aviv.
The recent discovery comes in the wake of the country’s attempt to revitalize its tourism sector following a decline in the number of visitors as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Take a look at photos of the discovery below: