The country’s tourism and antiquities ministry reported on Saturday that a team of local and American archaeologists had discovered what they claim to be the world’s oldest beer production site in the ancient Egyptian city of Abydos.
According to Al Jazeera, the site, which is believed to be over 5,000 years old and is located on a funerary field, was most likely built during the reign of King Narmer, according to the general secretary of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, Mostafa Waziry.
King Narmer was the father of the First Dynasty and is credited with bringing Upper and Lower Egypt together. Waziry revealed that the site is divided into “eight wide sectors” that served as breweries, with each sector containing about 40 pots arranged in two rows to heat the grain and water mixture.
The statement continued, “Each basin is kept in place by vertically mounted clay levers in the shape of rings.”
The site was first found by British archaeologists at the turn of the twentieth century, but they were unable to pinpoint its exact location, according to the ministry, adding that the recent expedition was able to “re-locate and reveal its contents.”
Dr. Matthew Adams, the expedition’s leader, said the factory produced 22,400 liters of beer at a time and was most likely built at its current location to provide beer for royal ceremonies performed for deceased Egyptian kings “inside the funeral facilities.”
“During excavations in these facilities, evidence for the use of beer in sacrificial rituals was discovered,” the statement continued.
According to Al Jazeera, this isn’t the first time researchers have discovered traces of a beer factory in ancient Egypt. The Israeli Antiquities Authority announced in 2015 that it had discovered pieces of pottery used by Egyptians to brew beer. The fragments were discovered in Tel Aviv and are thought to be about 5000 years old.
The recent finding coincides with the country’s efforts to resurrect its tourism industry following a drop in tourists as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.