11,000 years ago, in what is now Turkey, a group of Neolithic folks gathered to hunt gazelles, feast, and get trashed on beer. Excerpt:
Southern Anatolia is at the northern end of the Fertile Crescent, a region in the Middle East invigorated by the waters of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, where hunter-gatherers first settled down to farm. Göbekli Tepe was constructed sometime during this lifestyle transition, perhaps by different groups lured together through innate social desires. Exquisite carvings, decorated pillars, and animal-like figurines first suggested to researchers that this was a temple of some sort, intended for worship. Then, in 2012, archaeologists uncovered six large limestone troughs that could have each held up to 42 gallons of liquid. At the bottom of these structures were faint traces of oxalate, a compound which develops during the mashing and fermentation of cereals. To the researchers, this new evidence suggested that site’s previously modest narrative needed a rewrite.
“At the dawn of the Neolithic, hunter-gatherers congregating at Göbekli Tepe created social and ideological cohesion through the carving of decorated pillars, dancing, feasting—and, almost certainly, the drinking of beer made from fermented wild crops,” they wrote.
Whatever “worship” was going on at Göbekli Tepe, it was lively, to say the least.
Indeed, one wonders if beer goggles were already a thing in those days.
Think on this for a moment. Human behavior, for the most part, doesn’t seem to change much, even over the span of 11,000 years. I can easily picture these folks – a gazelle on a spit over the fire, a fired-clay jug of some foamy, alcoholic brew in their hands. Teach them to speak English and they’d fit right in at any pig roast/kegger held in the Allamakee County hills of my youth.
It’s neat to know that people then, just liked people today, liked to unwind after a hard day with a mug of suds – and occasionally to let loose and get hammered.
Now, when did they get around to whiskey?