The Great Beer Bibliography and Resource Post

For those of you who have a deep interest in the Archaeology of Beer, Spirits, Wine and Pleasure in general, here’s the beginning of a big beer bibliography and source list, with a very brief description of the contents. We’ll continue to add to it over time and hopefully someone will find it a useful resource. We toast all the authors, with our Fulacht Fiadh beer, for providing us with hours of engaging and sometimes very entertaining reading. Found these latest ones (highlighted) here: where there’s an interesting discussion about beer and ale etc..

Arthur, JW (2003). Brewing beer: status, wealth and ceramic use alteration Among the Gamo of south-western Ethiopia. World Archaeology 34 (3): 516-528.

Banham, D (2004). Food and Drink in Anglo Saxon England. Tempus, Gloucestershire.

Debby Banham, a specialist in medicine, diet and agriculture in Anglo-Saxon England, has an excellent introduction to the use of barley and beer in the Anglo-Saxon diet. Beer was the most common drink for the Anglo-Saxons, and was likely to be consumed at most meals. The chapters about food are interesting too.

Brown, P (2006). Three Sheets to the Wind, One Mans Quest for the Meaning of Beer. MacMillan, London.

Billy and Dec make the acknowledgements and a part of a chapter in this one. Pete’s a good friend now and even invited us to the launch. Of course we’re going to say that it’s a great read – but it is – really, honest! At the time of writing this entry, Pete is somewhere halfway across the Atlantic on a tall ship or something, on his way to Calcutta, via Brazil with a keg of ale in tow, or on board, or in bunk or whatever – follow his adventures on his blog or just buy his next book to find out why!

Buckley, V (1990). Burnt Offerings, International Contributions to Burnt Mound Archaeology. Wordwell, Dublin.

Compiled by Victor Buckley based on a conference held in Dublin in 1988, this is a very valuable publication on Burnt Mound Archaeology. The Fulachta Fiadh are the most common prehistoric site type in Ireland with many more being excavated and discovered yearly – this work remains the prime resource with regards to the site type.

Burns, E (2004). The Spirits of America, a Social History of Alcohol. Temple University Press, Philidelphia.

Full of fascinating trivia and excellently researched historical fact, Burns, who is a host of ‘Fox News Watch’ is a man after our own hearts, balancing a flourishing career and a love of all things beer! This is where we learn that the phrase ‘at loggerheads’ derives from the poker (called the loggerhead) which was used to heat up a noxious mix of rum, beer, an egg or cream and sugar called the Rum Flip at the local American tavern, and was occasionally used to settle contentious issues in a less pleasant way!

Davenport-Hines, R (2001). The Pursuit of Oblivion, A Social History of Drugs. Phoenix Press, London.

According to the Sunday Times reviewer, this book is ‘the most important study on the subject in years, perhaps ever’! We bought it because of the name. A great general account of drugs and drug use and our current ‘Age of Anxiety’ and nanny statedness (?).

Dineley, Merryn (2004). Barley, Malt and Ale in the Neolithic. Oxford. Archaeopress.

Merryn and Graham Dineley hosted us in the Orkneys and have also become good friends. We had a very enjoyable research trip under the guidance of Merryn and can’t thank her enough. Merryn’s publication was a very valuable resource and her advice throughout the process was priceless.

Hayden, B. (2003). Were luxury foods the first domesticates? Ethnoarchaeological Perspectives from Southeast Asia. World Archaeology 34 (3): 458-469.

Hornsey, I.S (2003). A History of Beer and Brewing. RSC, Cambridge.

Ian Hornsey is the founder of the Nethergate Brewery in Suffolk and a lecturer in botany and microbiology. This is the bible of brewing history – what more can we say?

Joffe, AH (1998) Alcohol and Social Complexity in Ancient Western Asia. Current Anthropology 39 (3): 297-322.

McGovern, P.E (2003). Ancient Wine, The Search for the Origins of Viniculture. Princeton University Press, Princeton & Oxford.

Pat McGovern’s book is a brilliantly written history of wine which we read with gusto! A celebration of the ingenuity which brought us wine some 7000 years ago.

Murray, O & Tecusan, M (1995). In Vino Veritas. The British School at Rome, London.

Some fascinating papers from an international conference on wine and society in the ancient world, but we’re lost on the French and Italian contributions for the time being.

Nelson, M (2005). The Barbarian’s Beverage: A History of Beer in Ancient Europe. Routledge, NY.

Max Nelson has become a good friend since we met in Barcelona and his book on beer in ancient Europe is erudite, incredibly well researched and a fascinating read. But we would say that, wouldn’t we. Max was very helpful throughout our research and even came over to Ireland to give us a helping hand, as well as hosting Declan in Canada, and providing him with a wide range of beers for his delectation.

O’Neill, J (2004). Lapidibus in igne calefactis coquebatur: The Historical burnt mound ‘tradition’. The Journal of Irish Archaeology. Volumes XII and XIII, 2003-2004

John O’Neill’s paper was instrumental in initiating our investigations into the function and purpose of Fulachta Fiadh and is a well thought out, cogent piece of work. Well worth reading.

Rudgley, R (1993). The Alchemy of Culture, Intoxicants in Society. British Museum Press, London.

Any book which contains the warning ‘this book is not intended as a practical manual for the use of intoxicating substances’, is worth reading. Richard Rudgley’s mind altering book The Alchemy of Culture takes the reader through the history of intoxicants throughout the world and discusses the active role which intoxicants play or played in most cultures. His history of alcohol and beer is, however, a little weak – but his focus is on other mind altering drugs.

Declan was tricked into buying the American version of the book which is called Essential Substances.

Sherratt, A (1997) “Cups That Cheered: The Introduction of Alcohol to Prehistoric Europe,” In: Economy and Society in Prehistoric Europe. Changing Perspectives . pp. 376-402. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Unger, R. W (2004). Beer in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Penn, Philidelphia.

Unger makes a strong case for the importance of the study of the history of beer in his preface and goes on to describe the evolution of the industry across Europe and provides and excellent overview of beer and how it influenced society and culture. Although he uses the phrase ‘British Isles’, he points out that the Irish term ‘curmi’ referring to beer indicates an early origin for beer in Ireland. He also references 7th century Irish scholars in Cologne and Liege complaining about the low quality of the continental drink compared to our home product – how times change!

Wood, J (2001). Prehistoric Cooking. Tempus, Gloucestershire.

Jacqui Wood has been doing what we’ve only just begun for years at the Cornwall Celtic Village and is archaeological consultant to the Eden Project. Her experiments on Stone Pits and Earth Ovens were useful as were her beer and ale recipes – although we went with our own readily available ingredients.

The exhibition of the Stone beer brewery at Klagenfurt, around 1900, piqued our interest here.

A description of the Sahti breweries – a technology which is remarkably similar to the Fulacht beer process. A brief history of Finnish sahti, the beverage characterized by beer writer Michael Jackson as “the only primitive beer to survive in Western Europe” is provided on this website along with the recipe and pictures showing the process. See – Finland has given us something remarkable and is obviously our next research destination!

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