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Ancient Egyptian Beer Basin Found in Tel Aviv

Pieces of pottery allegedly used by Egyptians over 5,000 years ago for the making of beer have been discovered buried in the ground during the excavation of a building site in Tel Aviv, Israel, by a team of archaeologists of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA).


Photo credits: Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz

17 pits were found to contain pieces of ceramic jugs and basins on a site in Tel Aviv. The objects seemed to have an Egyptian style. This would imply that Egyptians travelled and established settlements farther north than was initially thought. According to the researchers, the jugs were used for the preparation of beer, and it seems that the people of that civilisation would export the beverage.

“On the basis of previously conducted excavations in the region, we knew there is an Early Bronze Age site here, but this excavation is the first evidence we have of an Egyptian occupation in the center of Tel Aviv at that time,” said Diego Barkan, one of the archaeologists. “This is also the northernmost evidence we have of an Egyptian presence in the early Bronze Age.”

The artefacts are thought to be Egyptian because of its characteristic method of preparation: the raw material used – clay – was mixed with straw or some other organic material with the aim to strengthening it. This methodology does not feature among those used by local pottery industries in Israel.


A piece of a basin used found in Tel Aviv. Photo credits: Yoli Shwartz, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Furthermore, beer was used by ancient Egyptians. It was part of the staple diet, it was offered to their gods, and it was even a form of currency. An interesting fact about beer among Egyptians is that it was brewed and sold mostly by women.


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