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Archaeologists Find Evidence of 5,000-Year-Old Beer in Ancient Chinese Pottery

History By
(Jiajing Wang)
(Jiajing Wang)

Residue on pottery uncovered at an archeological site in China has revealed the earliest evidence of beer brewing—the remnants of 5,000-year-old recipe. The artifacts show that people of the era had already mastered an “advanced beer brewing technique,” according to a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a peer-reviewed U.S. journal. Yellowish residue taken from pottery funnels and wide-mouthed pots show traces of ingredients that had been fermented together—broomcorn millet, barley, a chewy grain known as Job’s tears, and tubers. “The discovery of barley is a surprise,” lead author Jiajing Wang of Stanford University told AFP, saying it is the earliest known sign of barley in archeological materials from China. The archaeological site at Mijiaya, near a tributary of the Wei River in northern China, includes two pits dating to around 3,400-2,900 B.C. It contains artifacts that point to beer brewing, filtration, and underground storage, as well as stoves that may have been used to heat and mash grains. As for how the beer tasted, it’s impossible to know, researchers said, because they do not know the ingredients’ exact proportion. “My guess is that the beer might have tasted a bit sour and a bit sweet,” Wang said. —Relaxnews