Archive for August 16th, 2007

Ancient brewery found in Ireland

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.

Angkor Wat was at center of city

From the BBC:

The great medieval temple of Angkor Wat in Cambodia was once at the centre of a sprawling urban settlement, according to a new, detailed map of the area.
Using Nasa satellites, an international team have discovered at least 74 new temples and complex irrigation systems.

The map, published in the journal PNAS, extends the known settlement by 1000 sq km, about the size of Los Angeles.

Analysis also lends weight to the theory that Angkor’s residents were architects of the city’s demise.

“The large-scale city engineered its own downfall by disrupting its local environment by expanding continuously into the surrounding forests,” said Damian Evans of the University of Sydney and one of the authors of the paper and map.

I’m just so glad we’re smarter than that today.

Intact tomb found

Who knew intact tombs still existed? I thought they had all been raided. From Reuters:

ROME, Italy (Reuters) — Archaeologists have discovered a more than 2,000-year-old Etruscan tomb perfectly preserved in the hills of Tuscany with a treasure trove of artifacts inside, including urns that hold the remains of about 30 people.

The tomb, in the Tuscan town of Civitella Paganico, probably dates from between the 1st and 3rd centuries B.C., when Etruscan power was in decline, Andrea Marcocci, who led digging at the site, told Reuters.

“It’s quite rare to find a tomb intact like this,” said Marcocci, who had suspected one might exist in the area after work on a nearby road scattered pieces of artifacts.

“When we found fragments outside, we thought we would find that the tomb had been violated. But the main burial room was completely intact.”

snip

One of Italy’s first and most mysterious civilizations, the Etruscans lived north of Rome in present day regions of Tuscany and Umbria. Their civilization lasted for about 1,000 years, reaching its height roughly from the 7th to the 6th century B.C., before its cities were replaced by Roman settlements.

Much of what is known about the Etruscans derives from other lavish burial sites, decorated with paintings and filled with vases and other objects.

 
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