Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 102-150

First online:

What Was Brewing in the Natufian? An Archaeological Assessment of Brewing Technology in the Epipaleolithic

  • Brian HaydenAffiliated withArchaeology Department, Simon Fraser University Email author 
  • , Neil CanuelAffiliated withArchaeology Department, Simon Fraser University
  • , Jennifer ShanseAffiliated withArchaeology Department, Simon Fraser University

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It has long been speculated that increasing demands for cereals for the purposes of brewing beer led to domestication in the Near Eastern Natufian cultures. While the question of whether cereals were being used in beer production is an important issue, it has remained a difficult proposition to test. We present some new perspectives on traditional brewing techniques relevant to this issue, on archaeological remains, and on the paleoecology of the Near East. Taken together, these observations provide more compelling circumstantial evidence that makes it increasingly likely that brewing of beer was an important aspect of feasting and society in the Late Epipaleolithic.


Archaeology Epipaleolithic Brewing Natufian