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Photos: Ancient Beer Recipe Discovered in 'Cradle of Chinese Civilization'

Prehistoric brewery

Mijiaya Site Map

(Image credit: PNAS)

Archaeologists have reconstructed a 5,000-year-old beer recipe from residues on pottery fragments found in northern China. Scientific analyses have revealed that barley may have been the "secret ingredient" in the ancient beer-making process.

Pictured here is a map of the Mijiaya archaeological site in China's Shaanxi province, where the artifacts were discovered. [Read full story about the ancient Chinese beer recipe]

Ancient funnel

Pottery Funnel

(Image credit: Jiajing Wang)

The researchers speculated that the pottery assemblages at the Mijiaya site could have been used to make alcohol, mainly because of the presence of funnels (such as the one pictured here) and stoves.

Stove fragment

Stove Fragment

(Image credit: Fulai Xing)

A stove fragment from the Mijiaya site that was probably used to heat the fermenting grain mash during the beer-brewing process.

Beer brewing kit

Beer-Making Toolkit

(Image credit: PNAS)

Archaeologists don't know when beer brewing began in China, but the residues from the 5,000-year-old Mijiaya artifacts represent the earliest known use of barley in the region by about 1,000 years.

Beer residues

Gelatinized Starch Grains

(Image credit: Jiajing Wang)

Gelatinized starch grains from the funnel used for brewing beer at the Mijiaya site.