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Chinese brewery, 5,000 years ago, was contemporary with Middle Eastern ones

Researchers have analysed a 5,000-year-old pottery found in northern China and found the evidence that beer was produced in this region at that time too.

Chinese brewery, 5,000 years ago, was contemporary with Middle Eastern ones

It is believed that beer was also brewed around the same time in the Middle East and Levant. Residue on the pottery from the strong Asiatic brew contained broomcorn millet, tubers, a chewy grain known as Job's Tears, spices - and barley, a thousand years earlier than it had been thought to have reached the area.

The pottery was discovered in Mijiaya, near the Wei River. According to researchers, it may be the earliest solid evidence but some other articles found in other parts of China indicate that beer may be double that age.

"This beer recipe indicates a mix of Chinese and Western traditions - barley from the West; millet, Job's tears and tubers from China," Prof. Jiajing Wang from Stanford University told Haaretz.

The analysis of residue from 9,000-year-old pottery found in Jihau shows that beer was consumed in China as early as the Yangshao period (5000-2900 BCE).

"We suggest that barley was initially introduced to the Central Plain as an ingredient for alcohol production rather than for subsistence," says Wang, who claims that the introduction of beer in the fourth millennium BCE is associated with advance in society.

During the digging in Mijiaya, the researchers also found two subterranean pits with tools that seemed to have been used in the brewing process, including pottery funnels, wide-mouth pots and jiandiping amphorae and stoves.