STATES CHRONICLE – A team of students from Stanford University managed to brew beer recreating a 5000-year-old recipe. They gathered at the Stanford Archaeology Center. There, they managed to develop their plan. Li Liu, a professor of Chinese archaeology at Stanford, helped the students, showing them a collection of glass beakers filled with yellow liquid.
White layers of foam floated above that fluid. Students were not pleased to smell and taste the liquid, especially after their professor informed them that those bottles were the outcomes of their final project for the course Archaeology of Food: Production, Consumption, and Ritual. The liquids in the glasses represented homemade beer developed by students who used old brewing mechanisms of early human civilizations.
One of the experiments made by students has even imitated a beer recipe dating back 5,000 years ago. Liu and her team of students managed to reveal that technique and then used it to develop a research which was published last year. Liu, the Sir Robert Ho Tung Professor in Chinese Archaeology, stated that students are used to misinterpreting the goal of archaeology. This science is not only about reading books and examining artifacts.
She also argued that trying to use the exact methods our ancestors used when brewing beer really helped students to figure out how difficult it must have been for them to do such complicated processes, understanding how they worked. Liu collaborated with a doctoral candidate, Jiajing Wang and a team of researchers discovered the ancient recipe while analyzing the residue which remained on the inner walls of vessels revealed in northeast China, in an excavated site.
The new study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It provided the earliest proof ever discovered regarding beer production in China. Ancient Chinese people made beer out of cereal grains, including barley and millet. What is more, they also used Job’s tears, a plant popular in Asia. The residues of the inner walls of the vessels also indicated traces of lily roots and yam.
Liu claimed that they were surprised to find out that barley was used back then, mainly because barley is used today in the beer industry. Apparently, the earliest evidence of barley seeds in China dates back 4,000 years ago. This indicates why this ingredient, which was first introduced in western Asia, reached to spread across China.
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