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At the Moscow Beer Sommelier event, we got into a lively discussion on the origins of beer - and on how far back they go. I first postulated that it was 6000 B.C. and the audience corrected me that it was later - 2000-3000 B.C. I am a brewer - not an archaeologist :-). I have looked into this a little bit and it appears the Moscow audience was correct! Below is an interesting excerpt from the venerable University of Chicago's Miguel Civil:

http://oi.uchicago.edu/research/pubs/nn/fal91_civil.html

Beer is an extremely ancient product. Some anthropologists have even claimed that barley was first cultivated not for bread but for beer. Although this opinion is far from commonly accepted, there is no doubt that when beer appears mentioned in cuneiform tablets of the third millennium, it is a traditional product whose origin is lost in the mists of time. It was certainly one of the staples of the Mesopotamian table. Travelers carried brewing supplies to make beer on the road. The drink was used in cultic activities and was the most common base for medical potions. Even the gods, especially Enki, the Lord of Wisdom, drank beer and occasionally got drunk. One can even wonder of the scribes did not create the Lord of Wisdom in their own image. The goddess Ninkasi, for whom the modern beer was named, was the personification of beer and presided over its manufacture. Her hymn for the making of beer, and the original source consulted during the modern process, is printed below.

 

From the 18th Century B.C:

A HYMN TO NINKASI

Borne by the flowing water [...],
Tenderly cared for by Ninhursag.
Ninkasi, borne by the flowing water [...]
Tenderly cared for by Ninhursag.
Having founded your town by the sacred lake,
She finished its great walls for you,
Ninkasi, having founded your town by the
                                      sacred lake,
She finished its great walls for you.
Your father is Enki, the lord Nudimmud,
Your mother is Ninti, the queen of the abzu.
You are the one who handles dough [and]...
                                      with a big shovel,
Mixing, in a pit, the bappir with sweet aromatics.
Ninkasi, you are the one who handles dough
[and]...with a big shovel,
Mixing, in a pit, the bappir with [date]-honey.
You are the one who bakes the bappir in the
                                      big oven,
Puts in order the piles of hulled grain.
Ninkasi, you are the one who bakes the bappir
                                      in the big oven,
Puts in order the piles of hulled grain.
You are the one who waters the malt set
                                      on the ground,
The noble dogs keep away even the potentates.
Ninkasi, you are the one who waters the malt set
                                      on the ground,
The noble dogs keep away even the potentates.
You are the one who soaks the malt in a jar,
The waves rise, the waves fall.
Ninkasi, you are the one who soaks the malt in a jar,
The waves rise, the waves fall.
You are the one who spreads the cooked mash on
                                      large reed mats,
                                      Coolness overcomes...
Ninkasi, you are the one who spreads the cooked
mash on large reed mats,
                                      Coolness overcomes...
You are the one who holds with both hands
                                      the great sweetwort,
Brewing [it] with honey [and] wine...
The fermenting vat, which makes a pleasant sound,
You place appropriately on [top of]
                                      a large collector vat.
Ninkasi, the fermenting vat, which makes
a pleasant sound,
You place appropriately on [top of]
                                      a large collector vat.
When you pour out the filtered beer
                                      of the collector vat,
It is [like] the onrush of the Tigris and the Euphrates.
Ninkasi, you are the one who pours out
                                      The filtered beer of the collector vat,
It is [like] the onrush of the Tigris and the Euphrates.

The gakkul vat, the gakkul vat,
The gakkul vat, the lam-sá-re vat,
The gakkul vat, which makes the liver happy,
The lam-sá-re vat, which rejoices the heart,
The ugur-bal jar, a fitting thing in the house
The sa-gub jar, which is filled with beer,
The am-am jar, which carries the beer
                                      of the lam-sá-re vat...
The beautiful vessels, are ready on [their] pot stands!
May the heart of your god be well
                                      disposed towards you!
Let the eye of the gakkul vat be our heart!
What makes your heart feel wonderful,
Makes [also] our heart feel wonderful.
Our liver is happy, our heart is joyful.
You poured a libation over the brick of destiny,
You placed the foundation in peace [and] prosperity,
May Ninkasi live together with you!
Let her pour for you beer [and] wine,
Let [the pouring] of the sweet liquor resound
                                      pleasantly for you!
In the...reed buckets there is sweet beer,
I will make cupbearers, boys, [and]
                                      brewers stand by,
While I circle around the abundance of beer,
While I feel wonderful, I feel wonderful,
Drinking beer, in a blissful mood,
Drinking liquor, feeling exhilarated,
With joy in the heart [and] a happy liver--
While my heart full of joy,
[And] [my] happy liver I cover with a
                                      garment fit for a queen!
The heart of Inanna is happy again,
The heart of the queen of heaven is happy again!

http://oi.uchicago.edu/research/pubs/nn/fal91_civil_hymn.html

I stand corrected! Makes me want to try Kvass again!

Представления: 285

Комментарий от: Zheka, Июнь 22, 2013 в 3:12pm

Thanks. But I still truly believe it's older than 3000 bc. I've got a British book called "The history of Beer and Brewing" where this question is covered in details, don't remember exactly which millenium they are talking about, will check it when at home

Комментарий от: Иван Белецкий, Июнь 22, 2013 в 5:24pm

I think if we speak about 2-3000 bc we speak about something historical sources - pictures, documents etc.

But are there any reasons to not to assume that fermentable beverages was invented earlier? Beer isn`t a tool or a weapon or a vessel, it`s very hard to find any evidences of its existence before invention of written language. Cuneiform, for example, was invented only about 3000 bc.

Комментарий от: Zheka, Июнь 22, 2013 в 5:39pm

The book "A history of Beer and Brewing"  (Ian S. Hornsey, (c) The Royal Society of Chemistry 2003) says in it's Intro:

"As we shall see, much of the artistic evidence of the early days of
brewing in the Near East, the commencement of which we believe to be
around 8,000 years ago, suggests a strong link with bread-making."

And one more quote:

"

Evidence for the production and use of beer in Egypt extending back
to the Predynastic era (5500-3100 BC) has long been known. Petrie
(1901; 1920) for example, found beer sediments from jars at Abadiyeh, a
Predynastic cemetery on the east bank of the Nile in Upper Egypt, and
at Naqada, which is one of the largest Predynastic sites in Egypt, situated
some 26 km north of Luxor on the west bank of the Nile. We know from
Early Dynastic (3100-2686 BC) written records that beer was very
important during that period, and therefore must have been a wellestablished
feature of the culture of that period. This makes it highly
likely that Egyptian brewing had its antecedents in Predynastic times.
Indeed, the earliest information available from the Near and Middle
32
Ancient Egypt 33
East, indicates that humans knew how to make bread and beer by 6000
BC."

Комментарий от: Алекс бин СахарОв, Июнь 22, 2013 в 5:40pm

Here's a bit of wry humour

Maybe all those troops who invaded Baghdad were sent with a special mission -- to steal and destroy all those

cuneiform tablets of the third millennium

to breed a nobler family tree for their extremely hopped craft brews? Quot: "Dig deeper, Shura Balaganov!"

Otherwise, it was a Fomenko followers' conspiracy...

Anyway, we know "nothing" about how long our Time Scale is, except that -- the beer is essential, it is simple (as it is), it is healthy, it is TRUE...

Комментарий от: Иван Белецкий, Июнь 22, 2013 в 5:48pm

don`t mention Fomenko before this respectable audience ))

Комментарий от: Алекс бин СахарОв, Июнь 22, 2013 в 5:49pm

Don't be scared she's NOT a mummy (it's just a scan of an old printed paper)

Комментарий от: Алекс бин СахарОв, Июнь 22, 2013 в 6:15pm

we believe to be around

Ian S. Hornsey, (c) The Royal Society of Chemistry

"Just DO it "

Hammurapi, the Tzar of fair deal (NO-c)

I know a place round the corner here, where you can get a drop of the finest Scotch whisky you ever tasted -- put you right in less than no time.

Jerome K. Jerome (NO-c)

Комментарий от: Паша, Июнь 22, 2013 в 10:52pm

Под "московской публикой" выступал я и я оспорил утверждение, что ПИСЬМЕННЫЕ упоминания о пиве относятся к 6 тысячелетию до нашей эры. Предположив что может и есть археологические свидетельства (вроде горшка с остатками чего-то на дне) 8-ми тысячелетней давности, но ПИСЬМЕННЫХ источников раньше 2-3 тысячелетия до нашей эры не может быть хотя бы в виду отсутствия тогда письменности ;-)

Комментарий от: Алекс бин СахарОв, Июнь 22, 2013 в 11:11pm

Have a 50-quid note to spare? Fancy a call !!!

Вот и я говорю, когда бы и где бы ни жили питекантропусы эректусы и их дети, всегда было пиво, потому что хозяева на этой планете, скорее всего, грибы (дрожжи), и они нам просто пока позволяют резвиться, скидываться на поход в Херродс по полтинничку.

Для нас же главное, чтобы оно а) было, бэ) было честное (Хаммурапи), цэ) было рядом, да такое, что сходу и мёртвого ожЫвит (Джером), и наконец дэ) никаких копирайтов на наследие человечества.

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