The Archaeology of Beer

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Taught by Patty Hamrick

Patty Hamrick has an M.A. in Archaeological Anthropology from New York University. She has worked on excavations across Europe, Asia, and North America, including India, Cyprus, and Syria. She loves bringing her passion for the past to new people. You can follow her on twitter, @pluperfectpatty.

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It's been found in the Egyptian pyramids, the cities of Mesopotamia, Viking longboats, the palace of Machu Picchu, medieval monasteries, and the world’s earliest farming villages. What is it? Beer!

Beer is as old as human civilization, and has been made in almost every part of the world for thousands of years. It has been used to pay taxes, heal the sick, and accompany the dead into the afterlife. Many religions worshiped gods and goddesses of beer and brewing, and some of the earliest known examples of both poetry and law codes are about beer.

However, most of these beers were nothing like a modern-day Budweiser. Some were as thick as porridge. Others were flavored with rosemary and juniper berries, twigs of pine or spruce, or spices like cinnamon, coriander, and ginger. Even the basic ingredients differ: beers have been made of corn, rice, and even a mixture of flowers and honey ants!

Join us for an evening exploring the archaeology of beer. You’ll also have the chance to sample a few modern recreations of ancient beers – though I promise none are made from ants!


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