Where the Beer Flowed Like Wine: Beer and Brewing in Bronze Age Mesopotamia

April 18, 6pm

We may be living in the age of craft brewing, but the craft of brewing has much deeper roots. For thousands of years, people have been intentionally fermenting cereal grains to create their own unique versions of the intoxicating beverage that we now call beer.  In ancient Mesopotamia, beer was produced on a massive scale and was consumed on a daily basis by people across the socio-economic spectrum. Beer was a gift from the gods, a marker of civilization, a dietary staple, a social lubricant, a ritual necessity, and a reason for celebration. It was consumed at feasts, festivals, and ritual ceremonies, but also at home, on the job, and in neighborhood taverns. It was produced by brewers working for the powerful palace and temple institutions and also by local tavern keepers and homebrewers. In this lecture, Dr. Tate Paulette, experimental archaeologist and Assistant Professor of History at North Carolina State University, will explore the archaeological, artistic, and written evidence for beer and brewing in Bronze Age (3000–1200 BCE) Mesopotamia, as well as recent efforts to recreate Mesopotamian beer.