Archaeologists found an ancient brewery in Ireland. In Ireland. Now there’s a surprise.
BRONZE Age man was a bit of a boozer, according to a team of archaeologists who that says it has uncovered evidence of the world’s biggest prehistoric brewing industry.
After four years of research, the team has concluded that Ireland’s love affair with alcohol predates the 1759 foundation of the Guinness brewery by many thousands of years.
An archaeological consultancy based in County Galway has demonstrated that enigmatic man-made Bronze Age features, which are common throughout Ireland, could well have been ancient boutique breweries.
The research by the Moore Group has culminated with the archaeologists recreating Bronze Age brewing methods and producing a modern version of the ale, which our forefathers would have drunk by the beaker after a hard day’s hunting and gathering.
The research focuses on the 4500 fulacht fiadhs (pits or recesses), which date from 1500 BC and are dotted across the island.
The purpose of the horseshoe-shaped mounds surrounding an indentation has been a mystery since they were first identified in the 17th century.
In the 1950s it was proposed that they were filled with water, which was brought to the boil by adding heated stones and used to cook mutton. But a lack of animal bones around the sites led to Declan Moore and his colleague, Billy Quinn, suggesting an alternative use.
The Moore Group’s deductions suggest beer was widely drunk in Ireland long before the 6th century AD, when brewing is first documented. Early writings show that the brewer was a highly important member of the monastic communities in the early Christian era.