Pour one out for this recently rediscovered 5,000-year-old Egyptian brewery

Model of Bakers and Brewers from Meketre’s Model Bakery and Brewery, Middle Kingdom, Dynasty 12, ca. 1981-1975 B.C.
Model of Bakers and Brewers from Meketre’s Model Bakery and Brewery, Middle Kingdom, Dynasty 12, ca. 1981-1975 B.C.
Photo: Sepia Times (Getty Images)

We here at The Takeout are very fond of food history. Personally, I’m still reeling from the news of ancient snack bar featuring sheep soup that was dug up in Pompeii. Now, I find out that archaeologists have discovered a massive 5,000-year-old brewery in the ancient Egyptian city of Abydos. Everything old is new again, baby.

A recent report from CNN explains that the discovery was part of an Egyptian-American archeological mission in Egypt’s Sohag Governorate. According to Dr. Matthew Adams of New York University, one of the leaders of the mission, the researchers believe the brewery likely dates back to around 3100 BCE and the beer was used in burial rituals for Egypt’s earliest kings. According to a statement released by Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, the brewery was split into eight large sections for maximum beer production. The operation was efficient to say the least: Adams reported that the brewery could have been producing as much as 5,900 gallons of beer at a time.

Why so much beer? CNN states that previous excavations found evidence that beer was used during sacrificial rites. At this time, the archeologists aren’t totally sure what those rites looked like. Whether they involved burying Egyptian royalty with beer or pouring one out for a deceased king, though, one thing is certain: the ancients liked to party just as much as their modern counterparts.

Staff writer @ The Takeout, joke writer elsewhere. Wrangling dogs and pork shoulder in Chicago.

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DISCUSSION

brickhardmeat
Brick HardMeat

If I remember correctly, weren’t ancient Egyptians paid in beer? Or it was a substantial part of the daily diet of the slaves building the pyramids? I wouldn’t be surprised if most of the calories consumed by ancient Egyptian workers was beer and bread.

Sometimes I fantasize about putting together an “ancient Egypt” or “ancient Rome” themed meal for guests, once it’s actually safe to have guests, using ingredients and recipes from the time.

Yes, I’m a huge fucking nerd.