A beer recipe that dates back nearly 5,000 years has been uncovered in China, and researchers are calling it "surprising" because it means that people were getting a critical ingredient in the process from thousands of miles away.
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A team of archaeologists from two Chinese institutions, Brigham Young University, and Stanford University discovered a cache of brewing equipment, including funnels, pots, and jugs, that contained the remnants of the starches needed to create beer. They were working at a Mijaya dig site and their research found "a surprising beer recipe" that contained a grain called broomcorn millet, barley, another grain called Job's Tears or Chinese pearl barley, and some sort of tuber.
The "recipe" they got came from looking at the interiors of the vessels and the evidence points to a culture that understood advanced brewing techniques. In fact, they aren't that far off of what we use today.
"All indications are that ancient peoples, including those at Mijaya, applied the same principles and techniques as brewers do today," said Patrick McGovern, an archaeologist at the University of Pennsylvania, who was not involved with the research.
Up until now, we didn't think that beer didn't pop up until the Shang dynasty, which was roughly 1250-1046 B.C., according to NBC News.
"To our knowledge, our data provide the earliest direct evidence of in situ beer production in China, showing that an advanced beer brewing technique was established around 5,000 (years) ago," the researchers wrote in a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
One of the most surprising things found was the barley. barley was not grown in China until 3,000 years later.
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They think that the barley was brought into the area specifically to make the beer. The farmer either traded it or grew small patches in their gardens.