An ancient Egyptian brewery has been discovered in Tel Aviv during excavations at a construction site. The 5,000-year-old Bronze Age brewery belonged to an Egyptian settlement – the northernmost site for this period.
Experts at Israel's Antiquities Authorities announced the find, saying they had uncovered 17 pits that were used as agricultural storage facilities, some of which date to 6,000 years. Excavation director Diego Barkan said: "We found seventeen pits in the excavations, which were used to store agricultural produce in the Early Bronze Age.
"Among the hundreds of pottery shards that characterize the local culture, a number of fragments of large ceramic basins were discovered that were made in an Egyptian tradition and were used to prepare beer.
"These vessels were manufactured with straw temper or some other organic material in order to strengthen them, a method not customary in the local pottery industry."
Beer was a standard part of the ancient Egyptian diet – it was easily made and the low alcohol content meant it was safer than drinking contaminated water.
The ancient Egyptian beer was made from a mixture of barley and water that was baked and left to ferment in the sun. Fruit concentrates were added to flavour the beer, then it was filtered into vessels ready for use.
Barkan said: "The Egyptians drank beer morning, noon and night. Already thousands of years ago Tel Aviv was the city that never sleeps!"
Previous excavation work at the site had revealed an Early Bronze Age site, but this is the first evidence of Egyptian occupation in the centre of Tel Aviv at this time.
Until now, Egyptians were believed only to have been found in the northern Negev and southern coastal plain. "Now we know that they also appreciated what the Tel Aviv region had to offer and that they too knew how to enjoy a glass of beer, just as Tel Avivians do today," Barkan said.