Archaeologists discover ancient beer factory in Egypt

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An image from the excavation site of the ancient brewery in Abydos, Egypt, in February 2021.
An image from the excavation site of the ancient brewery in Abydos, Egypt, in February 2021.
  • Somewhere in the Egyptian city of Abydos is a massive 5000 year-old brewery. 
  • Researchers believe the beer was used in royal burial rituals for Egypt's earliest kings.
  • While in operation, the brewery could have been producing as much as 22,400 liter of beer at a time.

Archaeologists have discovered a massive 5,000-year-old brewery in the ancient Egyptian city of Abydos, according to Egypt's Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.

The brewery was located in Egypt's Sohag Governorate, and likely dates back to the reign of King Narmer, around 3100 BC, the ministry said in a statement on Saturday -- making this the oldest brewery found in Abydos.

Dr. Matthew Adams of New York University, one of the leaders of the Egyptian-American mission that made the discovery, said researchers believe the beer was used in royal burial rituals for Egypt's earliest kings. Previous excavations in the area had found evidence that beer was used during sacrificial rites.

The brewery was split into eight large sections for beer production.

The brewery was split into eight large sections for beer production, each containing 40 clay pots used to warm mixtures of grain and water, said Dr. Mostafa Waziry, secretary general of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, in the statement.

The brewery was split into eight large sections fo
The brewery was split into eight large sections for beer production.

The brewery could have been producing as much as 22,400 liters (about 5,900 gallons) of beer at a time, Adams said.

Officials are keen to show off newly discovered artifacts as they try to revive visitor numbers after Egypt's tourism industry received a painful blow during the Covid-19 pandemic.

International flights were suspended in March along with the closing of archaeological sites and museums. Commercial flights didn't resume until July.

The number of tourists visiting the country dropped from 13.1 million in 2019 to 3.5 million in 2020. And the International Monetary Fund (IMF) downgraded its forecast for tourism expenditure in Egypt in the 2020 fiscal year from $17.8 billion to $2.7 billion.

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