Archaeologists have made a stunning discovery of interest to beer lovers. News that wine was not the first choice of the ancient Greeks during the Bronze Age may set archaeologists to searching for the beer god. Archaeologists may have discovered Bronze Age brewmasters in northern Greece.
A new study published in Vegetation History and Archaeobotany reveals two sites that are thought to be ancient Bronze Age breweries, possibly the oldest beer-making facilities in Greece. According to the news, achaeologists funded by the European Research Council project PlantCult, discovered the remains of several buildings at Archondiko in northern Greece, and another to the east in Agrissa. Among the discoveries pointing to these sites being breweries were cereal grains found at Archondiko dating 2,100 to 2,000 BCE. Tania Valamoti, who’s Associate Professor of Archaeology at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki told Live Science; “I’m 95 per cent sure that they were making some form of beer.”
The Archaeologists also found a two-chamber structure at Archondiko that may have been built to keep temperatures low. Along with these findings, the scientists also discovered the Greeks consumed alcohol all year-round, and not just on a seasonal basis as was formerly believed.
Past textual evidence from historic periods in Greece has clearly shown that beer was considered an alcoholic drink of foreign people, and barley wine a drink consumed by the Egyptians, Thracians, Phrygians, and Armenians. But Greece cannot lay claim to being the earliest producer of beer, that distinction goes to Egyptian from records indicating that people consumed beer as early as the mid-fourth millennium BCE. All that remains is for researchers to name a brother or sister of Dionysus as the god of beer like the Egyptian Tenenet. For those of you not up on the history of suds, it was Tenenet who was also the goddess of beer and beer brewing from cult centre at Hermonthis.
Funny, none of this should really come as a surprise given the fact Homer spoke of beer production and drinking in the Odyssey:
(Odysseus:) “So she spoke to them, and the rest gave voice, and called her and at once she opened the shining doors, and came out, and invited them in, and all in their innocence entered; only Eurylochos waited outside, for he suspected treachery. She brought them inside and seated them on chairs and benches, and mixed them a potion, with barley and cheese and pale honey added to Pramneian wine, but put into the mixture malignant drugs, to make them forgetful of their own country. When she had given them this and they had drunk it down, next thing she struck them with her wand and drove them into her pig pens, and they took on the look of pigs, with the heads and voices and bristles of pigs, but the minds within them stayed as they had been before.’ (10.229-241)