American and Egyptian archaeologists have unearthed what could be the oldest known beer factory at one of the most prominent archaeological sites of ancient Egypt, a top antiquities official said on 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, more than 450 kilometers (280 miles) south of Cairo.
He said the factory apparently dates back to the region of King Narmer, who is widely known for his unification of ancient Egypt at the beginning of the First Dynastic Period (3150BC-2613BC).
Archaeologists found eight huge units – each is 20 meters (about 65 feet) long and 2.5 meters (about 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.