Archaeologists Brew Biblical Beer with Ancient Yeast

Although wine seems to be the alcoholic beverage of choice in the Bible, residents of the Land of Israel have produced beer for at least five millennia. Not satisfied with excavating and studying ancient breweries, researchers have now recreated one of their products. Robin Ngo writes:

Scholars from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), Tel Aviv University, and Bar-Ilan University isolated, extracted, and sequenced yeast cells from ancient beer and mead jugs unearthed in excavations around Israel. The vessel fragments came from Ein-Besor in the Negev desert and a dig at ha-Masger Street in Tel Aviv, two early Bronze Age IB (ca. 3100 BCE) sites where there was an Egyptian presence; from an Iron Age (ca. 850 BCE) [brewery] at the Philistine site of Tell es-Safi/Gath; and from an early Persian period (5th-century BCE) layer at Ramat Raḥel, situated between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. In all, the researchers were able to experiment with six yeast strains extracted from 21 vessels.

“These jars date back to the reign of Egyptian pharaoh Narmer, to the Aramean king Hazael, and to the prophet Nehemiah, who, according to the Bible, governed Judea under Persian rule,” explained an IAA press release. . . .

“This ancient yeast allowed us to create beer that lets us know what ancient Philistine and Egyptian beer tasted like,” said the Hebrew University scholar Ronen Hazan, one of the [researchers]. “By the way, the beer isn’t bad. Aside from the gimmick of drinking beer from the time of Pharaoh, this research is extremely important to the field of experimental archaeology—a field that seeks to reconstruct the past.”

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at Bible History Daily

More about: Alcohol, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Israel, Archaeology, Nehemiah

How European Fecklessness Encourages the Islamic Republic’s Assassination Campaign

In September, Cypriot police narrowly foiled a plot by an Iranian agent to murder five Jewish businessman. This was but one of roughly a dozen similar operations that Tehran has conducted in Europe since 2015—on both Israeli or Jewish and American targets—which have left three dead. Matthew Karnitschnig traces the use of assassination as a strategic tool to the very beginning of the Islamic Republic, and explains its appeal:

In the West, assassination remains a last resort (think Osama bin Laden); in authoritarian states, it’s the first (who can forget the 2017 assassination by nerve agent of Kim Jong-nam, the playboy half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, upon his arrival in Kuala Lumpur?). For rogue states, even if the murder plots are thwarted, the regimes still win by instilling fear in their enemies’ hearts and minds. That helps explain the recent frequency. Over the course of a few months last year, Iran undertook a flurry of attacks from Latin America to Africa.

Whether such operations succeed or not, the countries behind them can be sure of one thing: they won’t be made to pay for trying. Over the years, the Russian and Iranian regimes have eliminated countless dissidents, traitors, and assorted other enemies (real and perceived) on the streets of Paris, Berlin, and even Washington, often in broad daylight. Others have been quietly abducted and sent home, where they faced sham trials and were then hanged for treason.

While there’s no shortage of criticism in the West in the wake of these crimes, there are rarely real consequences. That’s especially true in Europe, where leaders have looked the other way in the face of a variety of abuses in the hopes of reviving a deal to rein in Tehran’s nuclear-weapons program and renewing business ties.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at Politico

More about: Europe, Iran, Israeli Security, Terrorism