Posts Tagged ‘Alcohol’

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Ancient Chinese flutes

Topic Music and Drink

Excavations in 1986 and 1987 at the early Neolithic site of Jiahu, located in Henan Province, Northern China, yielded six complete bone flutes as well as fragments of approximately 30 others.

Sounds from the past
Tonal analysis of the Neolithic flutes revealed that the seven holes they contain corresponded to a scale remarkably similar to the eight-note scale of “do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, do“. This carefully-selected tone scale suggested to the researchers that the musician of the seventh millennium BCE could play music and not just single notes.
The exquisitely-crafted flutes are all made from the ulnae or wing bones of the red-crowned crane (Grus japonensis Millen). The best-preserved flute has actually been played and this presented a rare opportunity to hear musical sounds from nine millennia ago.

9000 year old brew

Jiahu continued to provide scientists with insights into the early lives of Neolithic peoples in this region of China as archaeo-chemist Patrick McGovern of the University of Pennsylvania Museum sampled ceramics taken from dated layers and found traces of alcohol made from rice, honey and fruit.

Jiahu lies in the Central Yellow River Valley in mid-Henan Province and was inhabited from 7000 BCE to 5700 BCE. The site was discovered in 1962 by Zhu Zhi, late director of the Wuyang County Museum, but only in the past 15 years has significant excavation activity taken place. In addition to the musical instruments and evidence of fermentation, the site has yielded important information on the early foundations of Chinese society.
Early script
In 2003, the site was made famous when tortoise shells were discovered to have symbols carved onto them (now known as Jiahu Script). Radiocarbon dating suggests the tortoise shells found within human graves date from 6600-6200 BCE. According to some archaeologists the script bears certain similarities to the 2nd millennium BCE oracle shell script. A 2003 report interpreted the Jiahu Script “not as writing itself, but as features of a lengthy period of sign-use which led eventually to a fully-fledged system of writing.”

Insight into the origins of Chinese culture
To date, only five percent of Jiahu Neolithic village has been excavated, uncovering 45 house foundations, 370 cellars, nine pottery kilns and thousands of artefacts of bone, pottery, stone and other materials. The excavations are helping to provide an insight into the very early structures of Chinese society.

Original article:

past horizons

More information on this topic is at:
cultural china

Dec 3, 2013


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Topic The oldest Fermented Drink? Part 1 

Pictures of Oregon Raspberry Mead and Wild flower Mead. 


 Mead is one of the most ancient of drinks, yes I do realize there is a debate between beer and mead makers as to which is older, but here I will just state that in my humble opinion, mead is by far the oldest-you are welcome to argue the fact if you must, I am open to debate.

Being as how I am admittedly interested if not downright obsessed with all things ancient as it relates to food I felt I should embark on the great adventure of making wine and beer myself. Now I do not have the space to make grape wine and I’m not a great fan of most beers, but I do love my honey-wine; so what a better place to start.

Last year I started with two batches of mead, both 1-gallon sized. I wasn’t sure I would enjoy it enough to keep up the hobby and I wanted one of them to be made using wild yeast so I wanted to go small.  The lesson with small (1 gallon as opposed to 3 or 5 gallons) is that you loose to much mead along the way what with racking to eliminate dead yeast cells etc, and it’s a lot of work so if you are interested I would advise at least 3 gallons to start, besides you can always through a mead party! I will post some pictures from last year along with ones from this year as I go along. As to why I didn’t blog on it last time….

The first batch of mead in 2010 was Oregon Raspberry made with commercial sweet mead yeast, and the second, Wildflower made by capturing wild yeast.  Both were a success and produced enjoyable meads but were totally different. The names reflect the honey I used for both. The Oregon Raspberry made medium sweet mead with approximately 10 percent alcohol and the Wildflower made a dry mead with about 13 percent alcohol.

I used 3 ½ pounds of honey for both and the same amount of yeast nutrient so I was able to see what the different types of honey and yeast produced. I won’t go into the procedure for these two but I will be doing so for this year’s batch.

Wild yeast can be unpredictable so I will be using commercial yeasts from now on but as you will be able to see in the photo’s I am posting not only do the meads taste different there variations in the way they look as well-mostly the foam on the wildflower mead. There was a difference in the color as well but it doesn’t show up as much in the photos.

More to come….


Original article:

By Joanna Linsley-Poe

copyright 2011



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