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Agriculture may have begun because of alcohol

Early man may have taken up farming in order to brew alcohol.

In a new research, a team of archaeologists has identified traces of alcohol in prehistoric sites, which suggests that the thirst for a brew was an incentive for Neolithic man to start growing crops.

According to a report in Spiegel Online, as early as around 9,000 years ago, long before the invention of the wheel, inhabitants of the Neolithic village Jiahu in China were brewing a type of mead with an alcohol content of 10%, archaeologist Patrick McGovern discovered recently.

McGovern analyzed clay shards found during excavations in China’s Yellow River Valley at his Biomolecular Archaeology Laboratory for Cuisine, Fermented Beverages, and Health at the University of Pennsylvania Museum.

He ran so-called liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry on the clay remnants from Asia and found traces of tartaric acid – one of the main acids present in wine – and beeswax in the shards’ pores.

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