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Oldest brewery is excavated in Syria.

Archaeologists from the University of Chicago have found the remains of a 5,500-year-old Syrian city that is at least as old as the cities of Mesopotamia, 400 miles south.

The city featured massive defensive walls, a commercial-scale bakery and the world's oldest known brewery.

Many buildings contained large domed ovens, each one large enough to bake bread for tens or hundreds of people. Other ovens were used for cooking beat, and some were apparently used to char grain for a brewery. Large vats near these ovens contained the remains of barley.

"They were almost certainly a beer-drinking people," said Professor McGuire Gibson of the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute.

The new city was found within a massive mound about five miles from the Iraqi border, called Tell Hamoukar. According to the archaeologists, a small village of mud brick houses currently sits on one of the slopes, a cemetery is one the crest, and the surface of the area is littered with shards of ancient pottery exposed by water run-off.

Although the first permanent settlements in the Middle East may have developed around 9000 B.C., these were villages without urban amenities like city walls, communal food production, breweries and bureaucracy.

The lower levels of the newly-found city show a large settlement dating to 4000 B.C., with habitation spreading to cover 500 acres. The city center was 30-acres, enclosed within a defensive wall. The city may have been conquered by the Mesopotamians around 3400 B.C., according to pottery evidence. It seems to have ceased to exist a few hundred years later.
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Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:7SYRI
Date:Aug 28, 2000
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