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    5,000-year-old brewery found in Israel

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    Jerusalem, March 29 (IANS) A 5,000-year-old brewery has been unearthed in Tel Aviv, the Israel Antiquities Authority said on Sunday.

    The find includes fragments of ancient Egyptian-made pottery vessels that were used to prepare beer. The site is currently being uncovered in salvage excavations, ahead of the construction of skyscraper office buildings in Israel’s financial capital.
    “So far, we have found 17 pits, which were used to store agricultural produce in the Early Bronze Age I (3500-3000 BC). Among hundreds of pottery shreds that characterise 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,” Xinhua quoted Diego Barkan, director of the archaeological excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, as saying.
    These vessels were manufactured with straw or other organic material in order to strengthen them, a method not customary in the local pottery industry but was common in Egyptian pottery.
    Evidence of ancient Egyptian community was previously found in ‘En Habsor, near the Gaza border in southern Israel. But the researchers were surprised to find relics of Egyptian culture also in central Israel.
    “This excavation is the first evidence we have of an Egyptian occupation in the centre of Tel Aviv at that time. This is the northernmost evidence of an Egyptian presence in the Early Bronze Age. Until now we were only aware of an Egyptian presence in the northern Negev and southern coastal plain,” Barkan said.
    “Now we know that they also appreciated what the Tel Aviv region had to offer and that they also knew how to enjoy a glass of beer, just as Tel Avivians do today,” he added.
    Beer was a basic commodity in ancient Egypt, consumed by the entire population, regardless of age, gender or status, the Antiquities Authority said.
    “It was made from a mixture of barley and water that was partially baked and then left to ferment in the sun. Various fruit concentrates were added to this mixture in order to flavour the beer. The mixture was filtered in special vessels and was ready for use,” according to the authority.
    Excavations conducted in Egypt’s delta region uncovered breweries that indicate beer was already being produced in the mid-fourth millennium BC.
    “The archaeological excavations and documentation of the area will finish today. The site will be approved for development and the research will continue in the laboratories of the Israel Antiquities Authority,” Tel Aviv district archaeologist Moshe Ajami said.

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