File picture: Peter Nicholls/Reuters

Jerusalem – A team of Israeli scientists has recreated the kind of beer drunk by the ancient Egyptians and Pharoahs 5 000 years ago and discovered that it is similar to traditional African beer brews being consumed today.

Beer has been a popular beverage dating back to iniquity and was a staple in ancient Egypt among the locals as well as the Pharoahs who believed that beer had special healing properties as well as using it in religious worship.

But what kind of beer did the Pharoahs drink?

A team of Israeli microbiologists from the School of Dental Medicine at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HUJI), and Dr Yitzhak Paz from the Israel Antiquities Authority scientists, has unearthed the secret by recreating the 5 000-year-old brew.

They recreated the brew after examining the nano-pores in colonies of yeast taken from shards of pottery that had been used as beer and mead (honey wine) jugs back in ancient times, and which still had yeast specimens stuck inside.

These pottery jars date back to the reign of Egyptian Pharaoh Narmer (roughly 3000 BCE), to Aramean King Hazael (800 BCE) and to Prophet Nehemiah (400 BCE) who, according to the bible, governed Judea under Persian rule.

The researchers cleaned and sequenced the full genome of each yeast specimen and turned them over to Dr Amir Szitenberg at the Dead Sea-Arava Science Centre for analysis.

Szitenberg found that these 5 000-year yeast cultures are similar to those used in traditional African brews, such as the Ethiopian honey wine tej, and to modern beer yeast.

African News Agency (ANA)