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Pre-Incan Brewery Unearthed in Peru's Andes (Chicha)
Reuters on Yahoo ^ | 7/30/04 | Reuters - Miami

Posted on 07/30/2004 2:59:04 PM PDT by NormsRevenge

MIAMI (Reuters) - U.S. researchers have unearthed what they say may be the oldest known brewery in the Andes, a pre-Incan plant at least 1,000 years old that could produce drinks for hundreds of people at one sitting.

The University of Florida said on Thursday that its archeologists and researchers from the Field Museum in Chicago found the brewery at Cerro Baul, a mountaintop religious center of the Wari empire that ruled what is now Peru hundreds of years before the Incas.

At least 20 ceramic, 10- to 15-gallon (38- to 57-litre) vats were found at the site some 8,000 feet up in the mountains of southern Peru.

"You get the idea that this is massive production, not just your basic household making beer to consume by itself," Susan deFrance, an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Florida, said in a statement.

Patrick Ryan Williams, assistant curator at the Field Museum, said the site was remarkable for its size. Small-scale brewing is known to have been done in the Andes for thousands of years, he said by telephone from Peru.

The Wari civilization thrived from about A.D. 700 to 1000, conquering all of what is modern Peru before swiftly and mysteriously declining.

The brewery is thought to have produced "chicha," an alcoholic drink derived at the time mainly from a berry of the molle pepper plant. Modern chicha is made from corn.

Last year University of Florida archeologists discovered what they think are halls for "ritual intoxication" at Cerro Baul, where Wari noblemen apparently feasted and drank.

Mike Moseley, associate chairman of anthropology at the university, said the halls "become a place where politics are negotiated and economic decisions are made."

Williams said each nobleman would have consumed up to 2.6 gallons (10 litres) of chicha per ceremony.

The site appears to have been destroyed in a closing rite. The Wari burned the structures, threw their mugs into the embers and laid down a half-dozen necklaces of semiprecious stones as they left, said Moseley

TOPICS: News/Current Events; Your Opinion/Questions
KEYWORDS: agriculture; andes; animalhusbandry; brewery; cerrobaul; chicha; dietandcuisine; ggg; godsgravesglyphs; huntergatherers; peru; preincan; unearthed; wari
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41 posted on 07/10/2009 5:14:41 AM PDT by SunkenCiv ( Jan 3, 2004__Profile updated Monday, January 12, 2009)
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