At an excavation site in Tell Edfu, Egypt, a city about 400 miles south of Cairo, researchers from the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago recently uncovered a significant piece of history: Evidence of beer- and bread-making in what is believed to be the earliest structures in the town’s existence, dating to around 2400 BCE.
Among the recent findings, which, in late 2017, consisted of two large buildings surrounded by courtyards and workshops, archaeologists found “storage containers and other artifacts in the workshops that suggested the town’s inhabitants had been brewing beer and making bread on the site,” reports UChicago News.
“It’s a wonderful find because we have so little information about this era of settlement in the southern provinces,” professor Nadine Moeller, an Egyptian archaeology specialist who co-led the excavation, said in an interview. “We don’t know any such similar complexes for the Old Kingdom.”
Along with the evidenced beer and bread facilities were indicators of other workshops, like copper smelting. Researchers also found stamps marked with the name of an Egyptian official who worked for the pharaoh Djedkare-Isesi, suggesting that the site was used by Egyptian royalty as “a departure point for expeditions to the east,” says the report.
The site also hints at religious significance, due to its location near the temple of the falcon god Horus.
“This is a first sign that the ancient city of Edfu was evolving into an important departure point for large expeditions leaving for the Eastern desert regions, and possibly the Red Sea shore, located about 125 miles to the east,” Moeller said. “It’s such a unique site. We’ve had a hard time finding architectural parallels, because no other settlement in Upper Egypt has such extensive remains from this time period.”
Beer to civilization: You’re welcome.