Collapse of Civilizations Seen Through Key Beer Ingredient: Study

Publication: NBC News   Date: August 11, 2014   View Article

Beer, scientists have long argued, helped give rise to civilization in an arc of land that sweeps from modern-day Egypt to the border between Iraq and Iran. Today, chemical analysis of barley grains, one of beer’s key ingredients, is bolstering research into climate change‚Äôs role in the collapse of ancient societies.

“There has been a longtime debate about the relationship between climate and its changes and the development and in some cases demise of cultures,” Frank Hole, an emeritus professor of anthropology at Yale University in New Haven, Conn., and a study co-author, explained to NBC News. “The research that we did is attempting to pinpoint this more directly.”

To do this, he and colleagues collected samples of modern and ancient barley grains throughout the Near East and analyzed them to tease out the impact on agriculture of so-called mega-droughts over the past 10,000 years. The existence of these droughts has been inferred from sources such as pollen and microscopic animals in cores of soil pulled from lake and ocean bottoms.

Related Posts

“Methuselah” Palm Grown From 2,000-Year-Old Seed Is a Father

3,700-year-old cellar housed ‘luxurious’ wine

Photos: Mummy Bundles, Child Sacrifices Found on Pyramid

Pictures: 12 Ancient Landmarks on Verge of Vanishing

Odd Pyramid Had Rooftop Homes, Ritual Sacrifices?

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach