We’ve Been Celebrating With Booze for 10,000 Years
This ancient social lubricant has been a staple of cultic feasts and gatherings since the dawn of time, archaeological evidence suggests, meaning every time we sip a cold stout or toast with a glass of bubbly, we’re taking part in a millennia-old tradition
The worst of the New Year’s hangovers are behind us, but take solace knowing that people have been celebrating— and paying for it the day after—with booze for 10,000 years now. This ancient social lubricant has been a staple of cultic feasts and gatherings since the dawn of time, archaeological evidence suggests, meaning every time we sip a cold stout or toast with a glass of bubbly, we’re taking part in a millennia-old tradition.
Archaeologists, for example, recently found evidence of nearly 11,000 year-old beer brewing troughs at a cultic feasting site in Turkey, Discovery News reports.
Some researchers suggest that beer arose 11,500 years ago and drove the cultivation of grains. Because grains require so much hard work to produce (collecting tiny, mostly inedible parts, separating grain from chaff, and grinding into flour), beer brewing would have been reserved for feasts with important cultural purposes.
Those feasts — and alcohol-induced friendliness — may have enabled hunter-gatherers to bond with larger groups of people in newly emerging villages, fueling the rise of civilization. At work parties, beer may have motivated people to put a little elbow grease into bigger-scale projects such as building ancient monuments.
In other words, beer and other booze likely helped advance cultures and build monuments, in addition to giving citizens of the time a reason to celebrate. ”There must have been a real sense of anticipation within the community when you knew a big beer event was coming up,” the archaeologists told Discovery.
More from Smithsonian.com:
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