Could beer be mankind’s first invention? While it’s pretty well-known that beer has been around for a while—a really, really long while—a new discovery suggests that the brew is far older than scientists previously thought. So essentially, humans have been getting drunk for almost as long as humans have existed.
A long love affair
The answer to how we managed to survive the Ice Age is starting to become a little clearer.
After analyzing stone mortars found in Israel, a research team believes that beer may be at least 13,700 years old. That’s so long ago, it’s hard to comprehend just how long ago it was. This is before Jericho was built and before humans domesticated cattle. Saber-toothed tigers and woolly mammoths were still roaming the land, and the Bronze Age hadn’t even started.
History’s first beer makers
The research team was studying the Natufian culture, an ancient group of people who inhabited caves around modern-day Israel. Scientists were trying to figure out what these ancients once ate when they found the formula for beer.
Actually, what they found were small silica particles from plant tissues and starches, which is what you find after wheat and barley have been fermented to brew beer. So basically, a group of scientists just discovered the world’s oldest craft beer.
Drinking the past
The team brewed their own version of ancient beer to find out if what they created matched what they found. And what they made was startlingly similar to the materials they discovered in the caves.
This looks like the very oldest record of human-made alcohol ever discovered, and it reinforces a long-held theory that beer was an essential part of human development. This new information also refutes the theory that bread sparked the cultivation of grains. It now looks more likely that humans began cultivating the land for a much more enjoyable reason: to make more beer.