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Vegetation History and Archaeobotany

, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 219–224 | Cite as

Beer from the early dynasties (3500–3400 cal B.C.) of Upper Egypt, detected by archaeochemical methods

  • Salwa A. Maksoud
  • M. Nabil El Hadidi
  • Wafaa Mahrous Amer
Article

Abstract

Physical and chemical analyses of beer residues recovered from a vat site at Hierakonpolis (Upper Egypt) were carried out. Radiocarbon dates of the residues suggest a dating of 3500–3400 cal B.C. and are believed to represent the oldest known beer in the world. Macroscopic and microscopic examinations of the residues revealed the presence of intact remains of grains and spikelets of wheat and barley, as well as fragments of dates and grape pips. Chemical analyses included percentages of sample ingredients, pH and total soluble ions, quantitative determinations of sugars, carboxylic acids and free amino acids. A total of 25 compounds were identified, which are components of fermentation processes that are believed to have formed in connection with the preparation of what is called Nekhen-Hoffman beer.

Key words

Archaeochemistry Beer preparation Upper Egypt Hierakonpolis 3500–3400 B.C. 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Salwa A. Maksoud
    • 1
  • M. Nabil El Hadidi
    • 1
  • Wafaa Mahrous Amer
    • 1
  1. 1.The Archaeobotany Laboratory, The Herbarium, Faculty of ScienceCairo UniversityGizaEgypt

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