Postcard from... Tel Aviv


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The Independent Online

Modern Tel Aviv is known as a hard-partying city, but a new archaeological discovery has found that its reputation has an ancient precedent.

Fragments from ancient beer-brewing basins indicate that more than 5,000 years ago, there were Egyptians imbibing here. The remains indicate that the ancient Egyptians settled farther north than was previously thought – and were clearly partial to a regular tipple.

Israel’s Antiquities Authority said yesterday that the ceramic vessels, crafted in an Egyptian method that differed from local pottery-making at the time, would have held a thick, partly baked barley and water mixture which was left to ferment in the sun. According to the authorities, the jars would most likely have contained beer, considered “the Egyptian national drink” and “a staple, along with bread”.

The shards were found under an office construction site in downtown Tel Aviv, in 17 pits used to store agricultural produce in the Early Bronze Age (3500-3000 BC), the Antiquities Authority added.

In the past archaeologists in Israel have found evidence of Egyptian communities to the south, in the Negev desert and along its Mediterranean coast, but not this far to the north. Reuters