Evidence Of The World’s Oldest Beer Has New Theory Brewing

New research may show beer may have actually predated bread.

Alcohol harms
About 25 percent of American adults have been negatively affected by someone else's drinking. (Getty)
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New research indicates that humans have been brewing beer for a lot longer than previously thought — perhaps as early as 13,700 years ago.

A team of researchers analyzed stone mortars found in Raqefet Cave in present-day Israel, a site used for burials by the people of the Natufian culture, reports Atlas Obscura. 

The team found traces of phytoliths, which are tiny silica particles from plant tissues, and remains of starches that appeared to be related to the transformation of wheat and barley into alcohol. The researchers questioned if the Natufians were honoring their dead with a prehistoric microbrew. So they decided to brew their own protobeer to recreate the concoction.

The end result was not what we think of as beer today, said Jiajing Wang, a doctoral student at Stanford and coauthor on the study, but something that more likely resembled a porridge or gruel.

According to Stanford University archaeologist Li Liu, the leader of the study, the finding represents “the oldest record of man-made alcohol in the world,” reports Atlas Obscura.

The study also supports the theory that beer was a critical step in humankind’s development of agriculture.

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