January 19, 2011

Could Enough Liquor Build Pyramids?

Last week the Post published an article explaining the discovery of a 6,000 year old wine-making operation found in an Armenian cave, predating a previous known collection found in the tomb of Egyptian King Scorpion the first. General impressions from the article lead one to believe the archaeologists were skeptical such wine-making abilities would have existed at that time. The interesting thing here concerns Ancient Egypt and the Armenian cave dating. Some scholars believe hieroglyphic Egyptian writing was invented around 3,200 BCE with the first glyph being a wine press, after Shesmu, the Demon-God of the Wine Press. It is written in the Pyramid Texts that Shesmu offered the justified dead red wine to drink.

Although the Armenian discovery predates even the first literal transcripts found in Egypt by 800 years, it seems naive to think the practice of wine-making to be only 800 years older than a civilization who even went so far as deeming a God to the beverage. In fact, a researcher named Patrick McGovern uncovered a 9,000 year old fermented drink in China's Yellow River Valley which is now giving archaeologists another line to follow instead of how our ancestors developed with breads. Many references also display ancient workers being heavily rewarded with fermented beverages for their work which in a way might have one thinking an odd answer to why they built so large and complicated. They were drunk. Well, maybe its possible the alcohol influenced some of their building decisions and relieved some of the associated pains, but it just doesn't seem like the reasonable yet mystical explanation the world wants to hear.