Archaeologists Uncover 5,000-Year-Old Beer Brewery in Egypt

The brewery that was once used to brew beer for funerals may be the oldest in the world.
Fabienne Lang
Aerial shot of the ancient breweryEgypt Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

Egypt's Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities announced that a team of American-Egyptian archaeologists uncovered a 5,000-year-old brewery capable of producing some 5,900 gallons (22,400 liters) of beer at a time.

The beer is believed to have been consumed predominantly for royal burial rituals in the country. 

The Ministry posted the announcement on its Facebook page on Saturday, outlining that the brewery was discovered in the ancient city of Abydos, in Egypt's Sohag Governorate, and was most likely "the oldest high-production brewery in the world."

It most likely dates back to the era of King Narmer, around 3,1000 BC, per the statement. 

The existence of the brewery was brought about by British archaeologists at the beginning of the 20th century, but its location was only discovered now.

A brewery for burial rites

The team was co-led by Dr. Matthew Williams of New York University who explained the brewery "may have been built in this place specifically to supply the royal rituals that were taking place inside the funeral facilities of the kings of Egypt," as reported Deutsche Welle (DW).

The ancient brewery had eight sections, each filled with 40 clay pots placed in two rooms. These vats were used to heat a mix of grains and water to be used in the beer production. 

Egypt's Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities is keen to draw tourists back to its country, which is part of the reason for sharing its discovery. Egypt's tourism industry, like many others, has hugely suffered throughout the pandemic. 

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The number of tourists visiting the nation dropped from 13.1 million in 2019 to just 3.5 million last year, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) lowered its forecast for tourism expenses in Egypt from $17.8 billion to $2.7 billion in the 2020 fiscal year, reported CNN

Perhaps discoveries such as this ancient brewery will help boost the country's tourism back up once flights and travel are safely able to take place.

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