From Wired.com :
“…they’re not much to look at — excavation reveals a rectangular trough (fulacht is Gaelic for “recess”) surrounded by a horseshoe-shaped arrangement of burnt stones. No one’s certain what they were used for, but in a flash of insight, Quinn proposed a hypothesis in keeping with his nation’s cerevisaphilic reputation: The Bronze Age relics might just be Ireland’s first breweries.
The odd mounds have long mystified archaeologists. Experts agree that the sites, usually located near streams, were likely used for boiling water, but excavations have yielded little more. Were they vats for dying clothes? Proto-saunas? One long-standing theory suggests they were used to boil meat — not an unreasonable notion, since fiadh can refer to deer. But few animal remains have been found near the holes, contrary to what might be expected around prehistoric kitchens.
Quinn believes that his theory, published recently in the journal Archaeology Ireland, is supported by the circumstantial evidence. Even for Bronze Age inhabitants, who lacked metal cooking vessels capable of withstanding fire, ale would have been easy to make. There are only three ingredients — hot water, milled grain, and yeast, which the ancients may have cultivated and stored on a stick that was passed down from generation to generation. The hot water converts the starches in the grain to sugars, creating a solution that, with fermentation and the addition of yeast, eventually becomes ale…”
An ancient bar in Bronze Age Ireland? I think people were just being politically correct by proposing the other ideas. It was fitting that Quinn came up with the theory after a night of getting trashed. Quite funny in fact.
Booze is a world-wide phenomenon that marked the passing of the hunter-gatherer lifestyle into the agricultural/civilization model we have today (in search of a better buzz).
I posted a thread last week similar to this, but the article caught my eye because it puts Ireland’s love of beer and ales in a historical light and to show that no matter where the most ancient ruins of civilization are, alcohol and where people made the stuff seems to be at the bottom of it!
Hat tip to Graham Hancock’s site.