Shared: Brew Your Own: The How-To Homebrew Beer Magazine – Story Index – Brewing History – Archaeobeer

Brew Your Own: The How-To Homebrew Beer Magazine – Story Index – Brewing History – Archaeobeer

The key ingredient that seems to anchor the switch from hunting and gathering to gardening, herding and farming, is the domestication of starchy staple foods. The first of these were grains — particularly wheat and barley — domesticated in the Near East and Asia Minor beginning around 12,000–10,000 years ago. Wheat and rice were largely responsible for fueling similar cultural evolution in Asia. Likewise, sorghum and yams were domesticated in Africa; as were maize, potatoes and cassava in the Americas.

Domesticated starchy staples revolutionized life because they provided huge amounts of energy and, especially, because they could be stored to feed folks even through lean seasons. As I noted, wheat and barley were among the very first domesticated plant foods. And what do we do with wheat and barley? Well, we make beer, of course, and for that reason some archaeologists have argued that beer was the reason that people settled down and began to farm in the first place.

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