Monday, July 23, 2007

Horst Dornbusch on Beer and Civilization #7 (Egypt)

This post is dedicated to Francis :-)
When Meketre died (around 1975 B.C.), he was mummified and put to rest in a tomb in western Thebes, opposite present-day Luxor. Fortunate for us, his contemporaries placed a large collection of miniature carved wooden figures in his tomb. These toy figures represented Egyptians at work. There was a carpentry shop, an abattoir, a granary, a kitchen, a couple of river boats, and ... a brewery. Because the inner chamber of Meketre's tomb was untouched when it was discovered by Herbert E. Winlock on March 17, 1920, the workshop models give us an intimate three-dimensional view of how Egyptians lived.

The Egyptians did not invent beer. Rather they had learned the art of brewing from the world's first known brewers, the Sumerians, Babylonian, and Assyrians further to the east in what is now Iraq. The Egyptians, however, left us with the best documentation of ancient brewing practices. Most of the many depictions of Egyptian brewing that have come down to us are murals in vaults, pyramids, and sacrificial chambers. These attest to the importance and high esteem in which the art of beer-making was held in Egyptian society. Yet the find in Meketre's tomb probably ranks among the best preserved and most instructive.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting comment.The ancient Egyptians did not invent alcohol; the knowledge comes from Mesopotamians,Babylonians etc.The author accepts that the Anc. Egyptians left evidence for their art and craft whereas their Asiatic neighbours failed to do so. Despite this scientific evidence of the accomplishments of the ancient Africans, the writer perhaps motivated by intellectual dishonesty imputes to the Asians the inventions of beer making.