Wednesday November 20, 2019

Archaeologists discover a 5,000 year-old beer making room in China

The tools that were recovered from the dig site suggest that early brewer were capable of using specialized tools and advanced beer-making techniques.

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Beer bottles. Image source: Wikipedia

Archaeologists in china have unearthed a 5,000 year-old brewery that had “beer-making tool kits” in underground rooms built between 3400 and 2900 B.C. This old beer making room is at a dig site in Central plain of the China. The kits that were found included things like funnels, pots and specialized jugs, their shapes suggest that they were used for brewing, filtration and storage.

It is confirmed that the brewery is the oldest beer making facility ever found in China. The tools that were recovered suggest that early brewer were capable of using specialized tools and advanced beer-making techniques.

The scientists have discovered a pottery stove which suggests that ancient brewers must have used it to heat and break down carbohydrates to sugar. For instance the underground location must have been used for both storing beer and controlling temperature.

McGovern who is known as the “Indiana Jones” of ancient fermented beverages said “All indications are that ancient peoples, [including those at this Chinese dig site], applied the same principles and techniques do today.”

This 5,000-year-old funnel for beer-making was unearthed at a dig site in the Central Plain of China. Image source: Jiajing Wang/PNAS
This 5,000-year-old funnel for beer-making was unearthed at a dig site in the Central Plain of China. Image source: Jiajing Wang/PNAS

The research team discovered ancient grains in the pots and jugs which showed evidence that they had been damaged by malting and mashing, two key steps in beer-making. On Monday the “recipe” for the 5000 year old beer was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Broomcorn millet, barley and Job’s tears, a chewy Asian grain also known as Chinese pearl barley was included in the mix of fermented.

At last real question is what did this ancient beer taste like? “It would taste a bit sour and a bit sweet” said the lead researcher Jiajing Wang, an archaeologist from Stanford University.

Most interesting fact about the discovery was the evidence of barley in the beer, as they had never seen barley in china this early before. Now barley is very common in China, nobody understands why and when it made its way there.

Barley. Image source: Wikipedia
Barley. Image source: Wikipedia

“Barley was one of main ingredients for beer brewing in other parts of the world, such as ancient Egypt. It is possible that when barley was introduced from Western Eurasia into the Central Plain of China, it came with the knowledge that the crop was a good ingredient for beer brewing. So it was not only the introduction of a new crop, but also the movement of knowledge associated with the crop” said Wang in her email to The Salt.

McGovern in his email writes that Chinese became early brewmaster. They made barley beer in the same period as “the earliest chemically attested barley beer from Iran” and the “earliest beer-mashing facilities in Egypt,” as well as “the earliest wine-making facility in Armenia.”

Wang and Her co-author suggest that beer brewing and consumption might have helped in shaping hierarchical societies in China thousands of years ago.  McGovern also believes that “an exotic ingredient” that elites could have used to impress their friends and stay in power — “much like when we serve up that $70,000 bottle of 1982 Pétrus from Bordeaux” today.

-by Bhaskar Raghavendran

Bhaskar is a graduate in Journalism and mass communication from Amity school of communication, Noida. Contact the author at Twitter: bhaskar_ragha

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Here’s How Healthy Diet Reduces Risk Of Hearing Loss

Study has found that healthy diet can lower the risk of hearing loss

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Healthy diet
Eating a healthy diet can lower the risk of hearing loss. Pixabay

Researchers have found that eating a healthy diet may reduce the risk of acquired hearing loss.

Using longitudinal data collected in the Nurses’ Health Study II Conservation of Hearing Study (CHEARS), researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in US, examined three-year changes in hearing sensitivities and found that women whose eating patterns adhered more closely to commonly recommended healthful dietary patterns have substantially lowered risk of decline in hearing sensitivity.

“A common perception is that hearing loss is an inevitable part of the aging process. However, our research focuses on identifying potentially modifiable risk factors – that is, things that we can change in our diet and lifestyle to prevent hearing loss or delay its progression,” said lead author Sharon Curhan.

“The benefits of adherence to healthful dietary patterns have been associated with numerous positive health outcomes and eating a healthy diet may also help reduce the risk of hearing loss,” Curhan added.

Previous studies have suggested that higher intake of specific nutrients and certain food, such as the carotenoids beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin (found in squash, carrots, oranges and other fruits and vegetables) were associated with lower risk of self-reported hearing loss.

Healthy diet for hearing
Hearing Loss is believed to be the part of the aging process but a healthy diet can lower the risk of hearing loss. Pixabay

For the study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, the researchers established 19 geographically diverse testing sites across the US and trained teams of licensed audiologists to follow standardised CHEARS methods.

The audiologists measured changes in pure-tone hearing thresholds, the lowest volume that a pitch can be detected by the participant in a given ear, over the course of three years.

An audiologist presented tones of different frequencies (0.5, 1 and 2 kHz as low-frequencies; at 3 kHz and 4 kHz as mid-frequencies; and at 6 kHz and 8 kHz as higher frequencies) at variable “loudness” levels and participants were asked to indicate when they could just barely hear the tone.

Using over 20 years of dietary intake information that was collected every four years beginning in 1991, the researchers investigated how closely participants’ long-term diets resembled some well-established and currently recommended dietary patterns, such as the DASH diet, the Mediterranean diet, and Alternate Healthy Index-2010 (AHEI-2010).

Greater adherence to these dietary patterns has been associated with a number of important health outcomes, including lower risk of heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, stroke and death as well as healthy aging.

The team found that the odds of a decline in mid-frequency hearing sensitivities were almost 30 per cent lower among those whose diets most closely resembled these healthful dietary patterns, compared with women whose diets least resembled the healthy diet. In the higher frequencies, the odds were up to 25 per cent lower.

Also Read- Mutations in Genes Associated with Heart Disease: Study

“The association between diet and hearing sensitivity decline encompassed frequencies that are critical for speech understanding,” said Curhan.

“We were surprised that so many women demonstrated hearing decline over such a relatively short period of time,” Curhan added. (IANS)