Food & Drink | June 30, 2016 9:00 am

Records Show Workers Were Being Paid in Beer 5,000 Years Ago

Further evidence that time is a flat circle

The discovery of a 5,000-year-old brewery in China last month provided evidence for our long-held suspicion that beer, in addition to being delicious, is also one of the building blocks of society.

Now, thanks to an ancient tablet unearthed in present-day Iraq, we also know that beer has always been able to make man do pretty much anything — work included.

The cuneiform tablet — found near the ancient Mesopotamian city of Uruk — is believed to be the world’s oldest-known payslip, and it features characters representing beer and work.

According to New Scientist: “We can see a human head eating from a bowl, meaning ‘ration,’ and a conical vessel, meaning ‘beer.’ Scattered around are scratches recording the amount of beer for a particular worker.”

If you’re wondering why there weren’t say, oh, scratches for food rations, that’s because “in the ancient world, beer was a hearty, starchy brew that could double as a meal.”

Some things never change.