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Old 03-02-2011, 02:11 AM   #1
Aallyx
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Default Supposed Babylonian beer tablets...

Every home brewing site, beer history site, and several beer recipe resources I have encountered states that there are some Babylonian tablets from 4300 BC with detailed beer recipes. Has anyone actually seen these, or seen pictures of these? Even a translation?

Another problem I am having with this is that a few key dates don't match up. I checked a few archaeology resources, and here is a quote from an essay entitled, "A brief guide to the history of the written word" written by Katie Harrow on newarchaeology.com

"According to archeologist Günter Dreyer, director of the German Institute of Archaeology in Cairo, the earliest writing we know of comes from the 'Dynasty Zero' reign of a king we know as 'Scorpion' in Ancient Egypt around 3,300 BCE. In his tomb a number of small inscribed bone tags were found. These had grouped pictograms on them (for example a heron and a beetle) which seem to be the names of places where offerings in the tomb came from."

So, if the earliest known writing is from 3300 BC and even then was fairly rudimentary, then tablets from 1000 years before that, especially with detailed and complex recipes couldn't possibly exist, so where did the myth come from and how did it perpetuate? Any ideas?

Thanks,
Aallyx

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Old 03-02-2011, 03:30 AM   #2
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It's likely that the age of the tablets has been somewhat inflated. I have seen ancient Sumerian and Babylonian tablets in museums in Turkey, and they were tentatively dated to 3,000 BCE. Most of these tablets were political in nature, but there were some dealing with crops and food processing.
I can't read any cuneiform writing, so I had to go by what the curators were saying, but I don't doubt the existence of beer recipes from the time.

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Old 03-02-2011, 04:06 AM   #3
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So far, the closest thing I have been able to find is the Hymn to Ninkasi, dated around 1800 BC, and describes something similar to the ancient Egyptian "Hqt", a barley & millet beer.

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Old 03-02-2011, 01:37 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stout-n-Braggot View Post
I can't read any cuneiform writing,
You can't read cuneiform? What do they teach in schools these days... That's it. My kids are going to private school.
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Old 03-03-2011, 07:33 AM   #5
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Yeah, I've gona back and complained to my old teachers all the time about that, they claim ignorance! Lousy buncha no good sudo-ejukaterz!

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