Sunday 7 November 2021

Beer making on Vače Situla

Here's something funny. The Vače Situla is an ornamented Early Iron Age (5th c. BC) Illyrian ritual vessel (situla) found in the 19th century at the Vače Archaeological Site in central Slovenia...Thanks @another_barbara for reminding me of it.

The vessel has three rows of relief that show what look like scenes from some complex religious ceremony...A lot of stuff depicted on this vessel is very very strange and definitely deserves further investigation. Like all the animals in the bottom row...

But for now, the funny part: "The middle one shows the main happening: at first a sacrifice of grain..." Why is the guy on the right blocking his nose if this is a sacrifice of grain? What exactly is going on here?

I want to thank @JuraPijandura for pointing me at the right direction. What we are looking at is the depiction of beer making...

In "A toast with bear for eternity" that talks about beer making techniques from Ancient Egypt, we can read that:

The most common interpretation of brewing in ancient Egypt is based on the use of bread. Beer loaves or the so-called beer bread were made from dough rich in yeast and lightly baked so that the yeast would not be killed by heat. Those loaves were then crumbled and rinsed with water through sieves into vats (additional ingredients such as dates or extra yeast might have been added at this point). Fermentation occurred inside the vats and the resulting liquid was decanted into jars which were sealed for storage or transport.

The described process is similar to the one used for making a Nubian beverage bouza even today:

First, cereal, generally wheat, but also barley, millet and sorghum is ground and lightly baked as leavened bread, with a moist, yeasty center. The bread is broken, diluted with water, and combined with malt. The resulting mash is moderately heated for several hours and more water added, and, sometimes after a filtration step, the beverage is primed with some old bouza and set aside to ferment for several days.

The above article continues with this statement: "Archaeological data has provided a different view on ancient Egyptian brewing methods" and explains that most beer was not made with bread but with malt...

But malt could have also been turned into "malt loaves" which could then have been crumbled into water...I talked about this in my post "Fulacht fiadh, primitive ale brewery" about Bronze Age Irish brewing...

The important thing here is not whether the starter was a yeast bread loaf or malt loaf...The important thing is that the starter loaf was then crumbled into vats full of water for fermentation...A smelly process...


Stone slab depicting two Illyrian warriors from the Iapodes tribe sharing a drink from the same vat (most likely beer) using drinking horns. Una National Park, Village of Ripač, Bihać, Bosnia.

1 comment:

  1. Millet farming in Liao start of Transeurasian languages, brewing?

    Liao millet farming origin of Transeurasian language family