American and Egyptian archaeologists have discovered what could be the oldest known beer factory at one of the most notable archaeological sites of ancient Egypt, a top antiquities official said Saturday.
Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said the factory was found in Abydos, an ancient burial ground located in the desert west of the Nile River, over 280 miles south of Cairo.
He said the factory possibly dates back to the region of King Narmer, who is popularly known for his unification of ancient Egypt at the start of the First Dynastic Period (3150 B.C.- 2613 B.C.).
Archaeologists found eight enormous units — each is about 65-feet long and 8-feet wide. Each unit includes some 40 pottery basins in two rows, which had been used to heat up a mixture of grains and water to produce beer, Waziri said.
The joint mission is co-chaired by Dr. Matthew Adams of the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, and Deborah Vischak, assistant professor of ancient Egyptian art history and archaeology at Princeton University.
Adams said the factory was apparently built in this area to provide royal rituals with beer, given that archaeologists found evidence showing the use of beer in sacrificial rites of ancient Egyptians.
British archaeologists were the first to suggest the existence of the factory in the early 1900s, but they couldn’t fix its location, the antiquities ministry said.
With its huge cemeteries and temples from the earliest times of ancient Egypt, Abydos was known for monuments honoring Osiris, ancient Egypt’s god of the underworld and the god responsible for assessing souls in the afterlife.
The necropolis had been used in every phase of early Egyptian history, from the prehistoric age to Roman times.
Egypt has declared dozens of ancient discoveries in the past couple of years, in the hope of bringing more tourists.
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