Vienna, Jan 29 : Two archaeologists, who made the headlines worldwide last year after they suggested that one of the most common archaeological monuments in the Irish landscape might have been used for brewing a Bronze Age Beer, will discuss their research at the World Archaeological Congress 'Fringe' at UCD next month.
Billy Quinn and Declan Moore, two archaeologists with Moore Archaeological and Environmental Services (Moore Group) in Galway, will demonstrate the experiments they conducted at the enigmatic site, fulacht fiadh.
The archaeologist duo believes that an extensive brewing tradition existed in Ireland as far back as 2500 BC.
The ubiquitous monuments, which are visible in the landscape as small, horseshoe-shaped grass-covered mounds, have been conventionally thought of by archaeologists as ancient cooking spots, saunas or industrial sites.
However, Quinn and Moore are of the opinion that they might have also been used as breweries.
"The tradition of brewing in Ireland has a long history, we think that the fulacht may have been used as a kitchen sink, for cooking, dying, many uses, but that a primary use was the brewing of ale," pr-inside.com quoted Quinn as saying.
With a view to investigating their theory, the two researchers set out to recreate the process.
They used an old wooden trough filled with water and added heated stones.
After achieving an optimum temperature of 60 to 70 degrees Celsius, the researchers began to add milled barley, and after about 45 minutes simply baled the final product into fermentation vessels.
The researchers added natural wild flavourings taking care to avoid anything toxic or hallucinogenic, and later added yeast after cooling the vessels in a bath of cold water for several hours.
"Including the leftover liquid we could easily have produced up to 300 litres of this most basic ale," said Moore.
The researchers said that the results of their experiments suggested that the process of brewing ale in a fulacht using hot rock technology was a simple process, and that to produce the ale took only a few hours, followed by a few-days wait to allow for fermentation.
Although Quinn and Moore's theory is based solely on circumstantial and experimental evidence, both researchers believe that a primary use of the fulacht fiadh was for brewing beer.