Several new archaeological finds suggest that alcohol has been a social glue in parties, from work festivals to cultic feasts, since the dawn of civilization.
In the December issue of the journal Antiquity, archaeologists describe evidence of nearly 11,000-year-old brewing troughs at a feasting site in Turkey. And archaeologists in Cyprus have unearthed the 3,500-year-old ruins of what may have been a primitive brewery and feasting hall. The excavation, described in the November issue of the journal Levant, revealed several kilns that may have been used to dry malt before fermentation.
The findings suggest that alcohol has been a social lubricant for ages, said Lindy Crewe, an archaeologist who co-authored the Levant paper.
While the cultivation of grain clearly transformed humanity, why it first happened has been hotly contested.
“This debate has been going on since the 1950s: Is the first cultivation of grain about making beer, or is it about making bread?” Crewe said.