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  • Writer's pictureJiajing Wang

Identifying ancient beer brewing through starch analysis: A methodology

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As documented in written and artistic records, the production and consumption of beer played a significant role in the social, political, and economic activities of many ancient societies. However, direct archaeological evidence of beer making has been relatively sporadic. To address this gap, we need a better understanding of the microbotanical residues produced by brewing. Thus, we conducted cereal-based fermentation experiments by following some brewing methods likely used in antiquity. Based on previous publications in food science, we investigated how beer-making processes affect the properties of starch granules by documenting the resulting changes that occur in the starch granules of 17 domesticated and wild plant species. This paper introduces a method for identifying starch residues from cereal-based beer, some mixed with other plant additives, which can be applied to future archaeological research in the Old World.


•Introduces a methodology for identifying ancient beer production for archaeology

•Distinctive types of damage are formed during beer making process.

•A total of 17 plants were used for experiments, including both wild and domesticated species.

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