Ancient Tavern Discovered In The Middle East


Photo: Getty Images

Archaeologists believe they have uncovered the remains of a 5,000-year-old tavern in southern Iraq. A primitive structure was unearthed that had a refrigeration system, a large oven, benches for diners and around 150 serving bowls. To top it all off, they also found an ancient "beer recipe" written on a stone tablet.

Project director Holly Pittman explained that her team is calling the area a tavern because back then, beer was "by far the most common drink, even more than water."

This discovery makes me wonder what life was like not long after the first use of a wheeled vehicle. According to a timeline of human history found on Wikipedia (so pardon what are surely historical inaccuracies.), humans had begun wearing clothes (around 170,000 BC) and building structures (1000,000 BC). The first known permanent human settlement was around 25,000 BC. About 15,000 years after that humans began cultivating barley and wheat, and beer was born.

Still, with something to wear, a place to live, and beer, it would be another five thousand years before human's needed a place to escape to, in order to get away from the daily grind of hunting, gathering and farming.

In this city of Lagash, near the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, someone had the bright idea to create a gathering spot different from the old homestead. It's not known if this was the common man's bar or more of a cocktail lounge for the more affluent members of society. What food was served? Nuts and fruits I would imagine. Perhaps dried meats. They did have a place to keep things cool and an oven to cook things and plenty of places to sit.

It's fun to let the mind run wild. Imagine if there were darts, karaoke, and hot wings! Not likely, In those days storytelling was a popular form of entertainment. Maybe they had Amateur Comedy nights every Thursday and local Musicians would "Jam" on Saturdays. Was there that one guy, a "Norm" , a man quick with a joke, who'd rather be at the tavern than at home with the wife? Perhaps there were Happy Hour prices, dancing and someone yelling "last call" around sundown.

Bottom line, it's somewhat comforting to know socialization was important in 3,000 BC and that parking yourselves on a tall bar stool (or bench made of stone) has such a rich history. To those who carry on the tradition to this day we salute you. "CHEERS"!

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