Fragments of ancient pottery vessels used to prepare beer, unearthed during recent salvage excavations in downtown Tel Aviv, provide evidence indicating the presence of an ancient Egyptian population from more than 5,000 years ago.
found 17 pits in the excavations, which were used to store
agricultural produce in the Early Bronze Age [3500-3000-BCE],” said
Diego Barkan, director of the authority’s excavation.
hundreds of pottery sherds that characterize the local culture, a
number of fragments of large ceramic basins were discovered that were
made in an Egyptian tradition, and were used to prepare beer.”
vessels were manufactured with straw temper, or some other organic
material in order to strengthen them, a method not customary in the
local pottery industry,” he continued.
Barkan added that similar
vessels were found in an Egyptian administrative building that was
excavated in southern Israel’s Ein Habesor moshav.
“On the basis
of previously conducted excavations in the region, we knew there is an
Early Bronze Age site here, but this excavation is the first evidence
we have of an Egyptian occupation in the center of Tel Aviv at that
time,” he said.
Barkan said that the remnants represent the
northernmost evidence ever obtained of an Egyptian presence in the
Early Bronze Age.
“Until now, we were only aware of an Egyptian
presence in the northern Negev and southern coastal plain, whereby the
northernmost point of Egyptian occupation occurred in Azor,” he
explained. “Now we know that they also appreciated what the Tel Aviv
region had to offer, and that they too knew how to enjoy a glass of
beer, just as Tel Avivians do today.”
According to the
archeologist, beer was the “national drink of Egypt” in ancient times,
and was bought and sold like other basic commodities, such as bread.
“Beer was consumed by the entire population, regardless of age, gender or status,” he said.
“It was made from a mixture of barley and water that was partially baked and then left to ferment in the sun.”