, Volume 39, Issue 3, pp 351-360
Date: 25 May 2011

Never Mind the Bottle. Archaeobotanical Evidence of Beer-brewing in Mediterranean France and the Consumption of Alcoholic Beverages During the 5th Century BC

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Abstract

This article reports on an example of early archaeobotanical evidence for beer-making in Iron Age South-Eastern France. An archaeological sample from a fifth century BC house at the site of Roquepertuse produced a concentration of carbonized barley (Hordeum vulgare) grains. The sample was taken from the floor of the dwelling, close to a hearth and an oven. The barley grains are predominantly sprouted and we argue that the assemblage represents the remains of deliberate malting. Malt was most likely related to beer-brewing. The neighboring oven could have been used to stop the germination process at the desired level by drying or roasting the grain. Beer-making evidence in Roquepertuse is discussed in the context of the consumption of alcoholic beverages in the Iron Age Western Mediterranean using archaeological and historical data.