Egyptian pottery fragment from the archeological site at Tel Aviv.

New Discovery Reveals Egyptians Brewed Beer 5,000 Years Ago in Israel


Over a dozen pits used to store ancient beer have been found by archaeologists in Tel Aviv. This archaeological find from approximately 5,000 years ago is reportedly the first evidence of an “Egyptian occupation” in the center of Israel, writes news site The Daily Star.

Many pottery pieces were located in 17 pits under a building site in Tel Aviv, Israel. The broken basins were used 5,000 years ago to make and store beer - an alcoholic brew with a long and widespread history dating back millennia.

Israeli Antiquities Authority excavation director Diego Barkan said that these basins would have been used to hold beer during the Early Bronze Age, from 3500 to 3000 BC.

Barkan said in a statement that “among the hundreds of pottery shards that characterize the local culture, a number of fragments of large ceramic basins were discovered that were made in an Egyptian tradition and were used to prepare beer. It was made from a mixture of barley and water that was partially baked and then left to ferment in the sun. Various fruit concentrates were added to this mixture in order to flavor the beer.”


Beer was a staple as important to the Egyptians as bread. It was consumed by all people, no matter their age, gender or societal status.

Researchers have suggested that it wasn’t just the altered state of awareness that the people would have enjoyed from drinking beer originally, but it was also nutritionally superior to other food in their diet, apart from animal proteins.  According to Gloria Dawson, who examined the theory in a 2013 article for science magazine Nautil us, it is thought beer was safer to drink than water because the fermentation process killed pathogenic microorganisms. In fact, one of the earliest signs of the use of alcohol as a medicine dates back around 5,000 years to a jar found in the tomb of one of the first pharaohs of Egypt, Scorpion I. 

Egyptian wooden model of beer making in ancient Egypt.

Egyptian wooden model of beer making in ancient Egypt. Wikimedia Commons

In addition to the 17 pits filled with pottery fragments, archaeologists recovered large ceramic vessels, jars and pots contemporaneous with the beer basins, as well as a copper dagger and flint dating back 6,000 years ago.

A flint blade dating to 6,000 years ago, found at dig site in Tel Aviv, Israel.

A flint blade dating to 6,000 years ago, found at dig site in Tel Aviv, Israel . Credit: Israel Antiquities Authority


It was clear to researchers that the vessels were made by Egyptians, and the crafting did not match other local traditions. Discovery News reports that the settlement remains are the northernmost evidence of an Egyptian presence in the area dating to the early Bronze Age.

Excavations of Egypt’s Nile Delta region have found that ancient breweries were producing beer or ale in the middle of the fourth century B.C.

News site Haaretz notes that the location in Tel Aviv has undergone two previous excavations – one in 1980 and one in 2008. Due to the most recent significant finds, the archaeological site will undoubtedly continue to be an area of interest for archaeologists, researchers and historians.

Featured Image: An Egyptian pottery fragment from the archeological site at Tel Aviv. Credit: Israel Antiquities Authority

By Liz Leafloor


Your last point is a good one, Ed.  And by historical standards, so called “slaves” in ancient Egypt were treated a lot more like immigrants, and there’s no evidence the Egyptians relied on slave labour.

But on the topic of Exodus, that fact is peripheral.

5000 years ago there was no israel. peoples are categorized historically by the language they speak. there were no hebrews then. the hebrew language dates to the 10th century BCE. so the beer garden existed 2000 years before the hebrews. and don't pretend that the bible qualifies as some sort of history, it does not. and further, modern israeli historians admit that the exodus is a myth, and rabbis will tell you that the stories of genesis are allegorical, they are not to be taken literally. the egyptians did not have hebrew slaves as related in exodus.

Phelisha's picture

This one find does not declare the Exodus a myth. The beer containers could have arrived there in numerous ways. It could have been hauled to that location by any travelers out of the heart of Egypt. It would be naive to NOT expect to find evidence of Egyptian "anything" throughout that region. 

This is exactly why the whole "exodus" myth is a myth.
Why would downtrodden slaves “escape” to a PROVINCE of their Master? Palestine/Syria was all subject to Egypt at the time of the exodus. Those were the banished from power worshippers of ATEN that left the center of power for the FRINGE of the Empire, hoping to someday return to power.
NOTE: It is not called a HOMECOMING or RETURN, as it would have been if the participants were SEMITES originally from Palestine.
They THEMSELVES termed it an EXODUS. [EX out of, from, and HODOS, way]
This is people who WERE Egyptian and LEFT, went OUT OF the center of Egypt to seek refuge at the edges of Egypt, but still under the umbrella of Egypt.


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