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24 Jun 2018

Study: Beer was mass-produced in Sweden in the Iron Age

Sweden possibly mass-produced beer in the Iron Age

A new archaeological study has found evidence that malt for brewing beer was produced as early as the Iron Age in Sweden.

Additionally, the study also found evidence indicating that beer was mass produced there, possibly for feasting and trade.

Interestingly, all these findings came from carbonized germinated grains.

Here is the finer print.

In context

Sweden possibly mass-produced beer in the Iron Age

Earlier evidence of beer brewing in Scandinavia

Earlier traces of malt in connection to beer brewing has been found only in two other places in the Nordic region - one at site in Denmark from 100 AD, the other in Eketorp in Sweden from 500 AD.

Beer and humankind have had a long relationship

Early beer production

Beer and humankind have had a long relationship

Beer and humankind have had a long relationship, with documents and images indicating that the alcoholic beverage was produced as early as 4000 BC in Mesopotamia.

However, for the Nordic region, where written records are absent prior to the Middle Ages (around 1200 AD), evidence for beer production is dependent on botanical evidence in context.

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Details

Details of the archaeological study in Uppakra, Sweden

In the study, conducted by scientists from Sweden's Lund University, the researchers found carbonized cereal grains around a low temperature oven, indicating that these were used for malt production which, in turn, indicates beer production.

Additionally, the site, situated in Uppakra in Southern Sweden, had several such ovens but no living quarters, thereby indicating that the site was dedicated to large-scale beer production.

The findings date back to 400-600 BC

"We found carbonised malt in an area with low-temperature ovens located in a separate part of the settlement. The findings are from the 400-600s, making them one of the earliest evidence of beer brewing in Sweden," said Mikael Larsson from Lund University.

The conclusions make sense, given Uppakra's historical importance

Uppakra

The conclusions make sense, given Uppakra's historical importance

The conclusions about large-scale beer production does make sense, given Uppakra's historical importance.

The settlement of Uppakra is the largest Iron Age settlement in Southern Scandinavia, and served as a densely populated center of political and religious power for almost 1,000 years.

It was also a significant trading center, and thus, beer production could very well have been among activities carried out there.

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