Archaeologists find traces of what could be the world’s oldest beer
Thanks to new techniques, archaeologists have discovered traces of malt at Lake Constance that date back to the 4th millennium BC. This could be evidence of the oldest beer ever discovered.
Archaeologists find 6.000-year-old malt
Advances in archaeological techniques have allowed scientists to begin extracting malt from charred archaeological materials. Material like this was recently found at Neolithic settlements on the banks of Lake Constance and Lake Zurich, which date back to the 4th millennium BC. Malt is dried, germinated cereal grains that are an essential ingredient in brewing beer.
The malt was detected in food crusts at excavation sites at the two lakes. In Germany, the malt was detected at the Sipplingen-Osthafen and Hornstaad-Hörnle “pile dwelling” sites on the banks of Lake Constance in Baden-Württemberg. The archaeologists also found evidence of barley malt that had been poured into a liquid and thickened.
Scientists unsure if malt was used for beer
The scientists involved in the study are still unsure whether the malt actually signifies the presence of beer. It was not possible to determine whether it was being used to brew beer or some other non-alcoholic malt drink. According to Andreas Heiss from the Austrian Academy of Sciences, historians are already aware that malted drinks were consumed in the 4th millennium BC.
If, however, the malt is found to be evidence of beer, it would be the world’s oldest brew. Previously, the world’s oldest breweries were thought to be situated at Celtic sites in Baden-Württemberg, which are from the 5th to 4th centuries BC.