What would be the world’s oldest brewery discovered in Egypt

Archaeologists from New York and Princeton Universities excavated the brewery of a royal cemetery.

It is possibly the oldest brewery in the world according to the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt. It was built for the ancient kings of Egypt, more precisely, the first kings. The brewery was located in a vast desert area, according to Deborah Vischak of Princeton University. Together with Matthew Adams of New York University, they lead the research team.

The team found the ancient brewery on royal burial ground at Abydos, 450 kilometers south of Cairo. The ruins are believed to date to the First Dynastic Period. During this time under the rule of King Narmer (3273 BC to 2987 AD), the unifier of Egypt.

The brewery site was divided into eight sections, each 19 by 2 meters and containing 40 large clay pots in two rows.

Photo: Ceramic basins – Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt


Determining the type of beer

These ceramic basins were used to heat mixtures of grains and water to produce beer at different stages of the fermentation process. The factory of an industrial size, it is possible that it produced up to 22,300 liters at any one time.

Through the excavations they also discovered “evidence of the use of beer in sacrificial rituals.” Said Adams in the council’s statement. “It is possible that it may have been constructed at this specific site to provision royal rituals that were performed at the burial facilities of the kings of Egypt.”

Attached to the research archaeologists are determining the type of beer produced at the time. In 2019 the Israel Antiquities Authority extracted 5000-year-old yeast samples from vessels that were used to make the same type of beer that was drunk in ancient Egypt and used to brew beer and mead.


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