Beer is proof that god loves us and wants us to be happy Benjamin Franklin
Except that Franklin never said that. Nor is it true that the IPA was invented to last the journey to India, the Pilgrims went ashore because they ran out of Beer, or that Ale-Conners sat on benches to test the strength of beer. But that is one of the joys of learning and especially with studying the history of beer, you get to re-discover the truth and learn how things really happened.
Brewing has been a part of human material culture ever since the Neolithic. It is intertwined with religious, culinary, and ethnic traditions. As such, studying the history of brewing not only covers the scientific/technical development of an industry but also ourselves, our political games, economies, rites of passage, and daily rituals. That is why I decided to start researching it.
My dissertation focused on the Faroe Islands, with a pre-viking era settlement. Incidentally, there were some pots with potential beer residue, so my adviser and I decided to have a look. The results were inconclusive, and we were unable to modify our experiments to increase resolution due to time constraints. Hopefully in the future we will be able to try again, but in the meantime, the materials will sit in the storage area of the archaeological department.
My fondest memory of my masters was sitting in the library with piles and piles of articles and text books on beer. Whether about beer in Africa, India, Asia, South America, drinking rituals to the legitimacy of residue analysis, it was really an endless exploration for more knowledge. An experience I never felt with biology.
This blog, then, serves as a continuation of my studies. So, here you will find my jottings on academic papers, investigations, interviews, and brewing. Topics I hope to cover are the current knowledge of brewing archaeology, the roles beer played in the past, and the people acting behind the scenes.