Monday, November 8, 2010

Beer Lubricated the Rise of Civilization, Study Suggests

Brian Hayden, an archaeologist at Canada's Simon Fraser University, is working on research that links the brewing of beer to the birth of civilization.

"In traditional feasts throughout the world, there are three ingredients that are almost universally present," he said. "One is meat. The second is some kind of cereal grain, at least in the Northern Hemisphere, in the form of breads or porridge or the like. The third is alcohol, and because you need surplus grain to put into it, as well as time and effort, it's produced almost only in traditional societies for special occasions to impress guests, make them happy, and alter their attitudes favorably toward hosts."

The brewing of alcohol seems to have been a very early development linked with initial domestication, seen during Neolithic times in China, the Sudan, the first pottery in Greece and possibly with the first use of maize. Hayden said circumstantial evidence for brewing has been seen in the Natufian, in that all the technology needed to make it is there — cultivated yeast, grindstones, vessels for brewing and fire-cracked rocks as signs of the heating needed to prepare the mash.

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1 comment:

LPF said...

Beer didn't lubricate the rise of civilization, it disinfected it.

Because, having been boiled and/or benefiting from the antiseptic effect of its alcohol content, drinking beer is safer than water. Therefore, societies that had beer where more likely to survive and thrive.