Oldest ever UK brewery discovered in Cambridgeshire roadworks

Source: Xinhua| 2019-02-01 01:24:10|Editor: yan
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LONDON, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) -- The earliest evidence of beer brewing in Britain has been found during major road works in Cambridgeshire.

Archaeologists revealed on Thursday they had discovered evidence of beer brewing dating back more than 2,000 years -- believed to be evidence of the first beer brewed in Britain.

The tell-tale signs of the Iron Age brew, potentially from as far back as 400 BC, were uncovered in tiny fragments of charred residues from the brewing process in earth excavated with other archaeological finds on one of Britain's biggest road building projects.

Further finds show the local population also had a taste for porridge and bread as well as beer.

Steve Sherlock, archaeologist with Highways England, said: "The work we are doing on the A14 continues to unearth incredible discoveries that are helping to shape our understanding of how life in Cambridgeshire and beyond has developed through history."

"It's a well-known fact that ancient populations used the beer making process to purify water and create a safe source of hydration, but this is potentially the earliest physical evidence of that process taking place in the UK."

A team of up to 250 archaeologists has been investigating 33 sites across 360 hectares on the 2 billion U.S dollar project.

Archaeobotanist Lara Gonzalez, who came across the latest fascinating evidence, said: "I knew when I looked at these tiny fragments under the microscope that I had something special. The microstructure of these remains had clearly changed through the fermentation process and air bubbles typical of those formed in the boiling and mashing process of brewing... it's incredibly exciting to identify remains of this significance and to play a part in uncovering the fascinating history of the Cambridgeshire landscape."

Highways England is upgrading a 34-km section of the A14 motorway between the university city of Cambridge and Huntingdon.

Finds so far have included the remains of a woolly mammoth, 40 pottery kilns, 342 burials, a Roman supply depot, rare Roman coins from the third century, three Anglo-Saxon villages, and an abandoned medieval village.