Beer in the Desert: Archaeological, Ethnohistoric, and Experimental Perspectives on Early Beer Brewing in the Central Namib Desert, Namibia
For the better part of a century, archaeologists have surmised that beer brewing played a significant role in a range of major social and economic changes having to do with origins of agriculture. This paper examines an unusual case of early beer brewing, which likely originated during the Middle Holocene among the Later Stone Age (LSA) populations of the hyper-arid Central Namib Desert of western Namibia. In this paper, I discuss practices of modern traditional beer brewing in the region and I offer archaeological evidence implying the relatively deep antiquity of these practices. I also present the results of an experimental program aimed at replicating these traditional beer brewing practices. Based on this combined evidence, I argue that beer brewing played a key role in helping LSA populations in the Central Namib Desert process complex and labor-intensive food resources and that it held particular advantages in coping with the extreme aridity of the region. Finally, I explore some of the social consequence of beer brewing in the Namib, past and present.
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Beer in the Desert: Archaeological, Ethnohistoric, and Experimental Perspectives on Early Beer Brewing in the Central Namib Desert, Namibia. Grant McCall, Theodore Marks. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 442769)
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min long: -18.721; min lat: -35.174 ; max long: 61.699; max lat: 27.059 ;
Abstract Id(s): 21487