Experimental Archaeology & Beer Production 2013
Heritage Archaeological Research Practice will be running an Experimental Archaeology Field School in the village of
Kissonerga, Cyprus in August 2013.
Participants will be involved in recreating a Bronze Age drying kiln used during beer production and using traditional techniques to brew some Bronze Age beer. Training will also be provided in archaeological recording practices including technical drawing, surveying, and building recording. There will also be a number of visits to local archaeological sites dating from the Neolithic through to the Roman period.
The Field School aims to recreate an installation that was likely used for beer production
in the Middle Bronze Age. The original structure has been excavated as part of a research
excavation run by Dr. Lindy Crewe of the University of Manchester since 2007.
The site of Kissonerga-Skalia is a Middle Bronze Age settlement that has revealed a series
of domestic dwellings that were superseded by a phase of monumental construction. The
village of Kissonerga is incredibly rich in archaeological sites with some of the worlds
oldest Neolithic wells at Kissonerga-Mylouthkia, the Chalcolithic settlement of Kissonerga-
Mosphillia, as well as the settlement of Skalia.
The original installation was constructed out of mud plaster and would have had a domed
roof. The structure contained a series of pot lined pits and a sunken fire pit that would have
heated the main chamber of the structure.
During beer production, partially germinated or malted grains are added to water and heated
to make a ‘mash’ and wort, a sticky viscous liquid. Prior to making the ‘mash’, the germination
process of the grains needs to be stopped, this is usually done by drying the grains rapidly. It
is believed that the heat generated within the main chamber of the installation at Skalia would
be sufficient to dry out the germinated grains before making the ‘mash’. Following this stage
the fermentation process can begin in order to produce beer.
In 2013 we are running two projects with slightly different goals, but both with the aim of
improving our understanding of beer production and consumption in Bronze Age Cyprus.