When and why did people start drinking beer?

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When and why did people start drinking beer?
When and why did people start drinking beer?

Beer, along with kvass and wine, is one of the most ancient drinks in the history of mankind. In 2020, Californian scientists studied the inner surface of ancient vessels that were found in the Chinese province of Henan. It turned out that about 6,000 years ago they were filled with beer - the fact that the drink has been popular since such ancient times surprised scientists very much. However, recently, scientists from the United States have found evidence that beer in China was consumed in even more ancient times, more than 9,000 years ago. During excavations in the territory of Qiaotou, vessels were also found that had been filled with this drink a long time ago. Scientists managed to find out the approximate composition of the ancient beer and find out what it was used for. It turns out that thousands of years ago, drinking beer was not just a way to relax - it played an important role in funeral rituals.

Vessels containing the oldest beer

Interesting fact: beer is widespread in many countries of the world and is popular for its taste and aroma. There are about a thousand types of beer with a strength of 1 to 14%. They can be very different in taste, color and other parameters.

The very first beer in history

The discovery of vessels with traces of ancient beer was reported in the scientific journal Phys.org. They lay inside the grave of two people and were decorated with patterns, which in itself is an amazing find. In total, 20 vessels of various sizes were found, among which there were the so-called "hu pots", from which in ancient times they just drank alcohol. Most likely, the large vessels were used to store the drink, and the smaller ones were used for drinking. The size and shape allowed them to be held with one hand.

One of the vessels in which the beer was stored

To make sure that the vessels found inside actually contained beer, the authors of the scientific work examined their inner surface and took samples of microfossils. So it is customary to call fossil particles ranging in size from 0, 001 to 1 millimeter, for the study of which an electron microscope is required. The researchers found that inside the vessels there are indeed leftovers from beer fermentation: fungi, starch, and plant debris.

Place of discovery of vessels with ancient beer

According to one of the authors of the study, Jiajing Wang, the ancient beer was not like modern beer. Judging by the composition, it was a slightly fermented, cloudy drink with a sweet taste. What surprised scientists especially was that the beer clearly contained rice hulls that could be used as a fermentation agent. In those days, even in China, rice was a very rare ingredient, and its processing took a lot of time and effort. So beer was clearly an expensive drink and was not available to ordinary people.

It turns out that beer appeared in China before large rice fields.

Also on the walls of the vessels, scientists found mold, which was used in the production of beer. How exactly the ancient inhabitants of China were able to obtain it, the authors of the scientific work do not know. Perhaps they just noticed how the rice was gradually covered with mold on the remains and after that it tasted sweeter. If this is true, then the ancient beer was produced by trial and error. All this sounds very strange and strained, but this is what scientists say.

Why did people drink beer?

Based on the fact that a large number of vessels were found along with human skeletons, scientists suggested that the drink was used for ritual purposes. But what these rituals consisted of, they again cannot explain.There is a theory that drinking beer helped improve relationships between people. But it can also be assumed that beer was sent to the other world along with the dead as an expensive "gift". But these are just assumptions, because scientists cannot say anything accurate at the moment.

Skeleton with a vessel for beer

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