Archaeologists working in Iraq have discovered the remains of a Sumerian tavern in the ruins of the city of Lagash.
“Archaeologists found a seven-room structure featuring an open courtyard with benches and a large open cooking area with a 10-foot-wide mud-brick oven. They also discovered a primitive refrigerator. Known as a ‘zeer‘ in Arabic, the device consisted of two bottomless clay jars that used evaporation to help cool perishable items. In another room, the team discovered a large quantity of conical bowls that held ready-to-eat food and jars that the archaeologists think contained beer.”
The Washington Post reports on the tavern ruins and the city: “Lagash was once a bustling community with a thriving commercial district in southern Mesopotamia,known today as the ‘cradle of civilization.’ Located near the confluence of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, Lagash was one of the oldest cities of the Early Dynastic period, about 2900–2350 B.C. … Archaeologists don’t know for certain what was in the numerous jars at the tavern. However, the vast number of clay stoppers with seals featuring government markings — the ancient Sumerians kept track of goods for tax and quality purposes — indicates that some of them at least contained alcoholic beverages.”
Students in HIST 110 History of the Western World I will be interested in this new finding. The Washington Post reports on the tavern ruins in Lagash.