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Stanford professor Li Liu became aware of the pottery shards while reviewing a report from the excavation, and immediately noticed a vessel shaped like a funnel, which would have been used to pour a newly made beverage into a storage container.
Wang and Liu traveled to China and retrieved samples from the artifacts, scraping a yellowish residue from the inside of each vessel.
The San people (or Saan), also known as Bushmen, are members of various Khoisan-speaking indigenous hunter-gatherer people representing the first nation of Southern Africa, whose territories span Botswana, Namibia, Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and South Africa.
There is a significant linguistic difference between the northern people living between the Okavango River in Botswana and Etosha National Park in northwestern Namibia, extending up into southern Angola; the central people of most of Namibia and Botswana, extending into Zambia and Zimbabwe; and the southern people in the central Kalahari towards the Molopo River, who are the last remnant of the previously extensive indigenous San of South Africa.
Technicians excavated the artifacts in 2004-2006 from two pits at the Mijiaya archaeological site in northern China.
The pits also contained stoves, likely used to heat the grains for mashing.
“Beer was probably an important part of ritual feasting in ancient China,” says study author Jiajing Wang of Stanford University.
“So it’s possible that this finding of beer is associated with increased social complexity and changing events of the time.” The discovery is described today in PNAS.
The forehead was fairly straight rather than sloping like in Neanderthals, and with only slight browridges. Being the oldest known modern humans (Homo sapiens sapiens) in Europe, the Cro-Magnons were from the outset linked to the well-known Lascaux cave paintings and the Aurignacian culture, the remains of which were well known from southern France and Germany.
Fermented beverages have long been a part of social and religious rituals.
Now, researchers have identified a beer-making toolkit at an archaeological site in northern China with a 5,000-year-old recipe for beer.
In this area, stone tools and rock art paintings date back over 70,000 years and are by far the oldest known art.
The San were traditionally semi-nomadic, moving seasonally within certain defined areas based on the availability of resources such as water, game animals, and edible plants.
Lead author John Cacioppo, a psychologist and director of the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at the University of Chicago, says dating sites may "attract people who are serious about getting married."While Cacioppo is a noted researcher and the study is in a prestigious scientific journal, it is not without controversy.