Posts Tagged ‘brewery’

Around 600 beer bottles were found stacked beneath the stairs of a building next to Scarborough Castle Inn in Leeds. [Image: Archaeological Services WYAS]


Excavations on the site of Tetley’s Brewery in Leeds have revealed intriguing insights into the 18th- and 19th-century development of the city. Carried out by Archaeological Services WYAS, the investigation explored buildings along Hunslet Lane, including the location of the Scarborough Castle Inn, adjacent shops, and a side street known as South Terrace.

The well-preserved foundations and basements of these properties were exposed – all brick-built, with the majority having sandstone foundations – below layers of concrete. Far from being mundane footings, they tell stories of alteration, renewal, life, and war.

For example, the footprint of the Scarborough Castle Inn and nearby shops showed signs of significant alterations, including the addition of cellarage and the raising of the floors to match an increase in road level. The pub’s front wall had also undergone extensive work to prevent its collapse, while debris in the enterprise’s cellar included the twisted remains of enamel advertising signs and a single Tetley’s beer bottle. The adjoining shops yielded a small assemblage of shoe nails and leather offcuts, which had fallen down behind a floor slab, traces of the bootmakers that once worked and lived there.

It was the cellar of a building adjacent to the pub that produced the most surprising find, however. Lying in neatly stacked rows beneath the stone stairs of the cellar were around 600 bottles. The distinct smell of beer, on their initial exposure, indicated that they were full when stacked although most of the corks had since degraded. Some, however, still contained liquid and analysis of one tightly corked bottle gave an ABV of 3%. The majority of the bottles were stoneware and stamped with J E RICHARDSON LEEDS. John Edwin Richardson was a grocer and provision merchant who lived in various properties in Leeds; he was recorded in the 1901 census as living on Hunslet Lane. Why he left the bottles and how they were forgotten before the building was demolished, though, remains a mystery.

The row of houses known as South Terrace had also undergone extensive alterations, including the complete realignment of its western wall to allow for the widening of Hunslet Lane. A later basement contained another surprising discovery: a set of six interconnected brick- and stone-built ducts. Could these have been an underfloor heating system? The ducts were accessed via a small basement room, which later seems to have been used as an air-raid shelter, from which four gas masks were recovered in the backfill.
These excavations concluded at the end of March, and it is anticipated that analysis of the recovered artefacts, combined with historical research, will produce illuminating insights into life in developing Leeds.


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Northampton brewers have taken special interest in a medieval ‘malting’ oven found at the site of an archaeological dig in the town centre, possibly indicating the town’s first brewery.

Directors from Phipps Brewery and Carlsberg came to visit the large stone pit, still showing scorch marks from flames, which would have been used to roast barley and turn its starch into sugar, one of the main ingredients of beer at the time.

The remains were found at a dig on a former car park off St John’s Street as archaeologists from Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) prepare the site for the building of new Northamptonshire County Council headquarters.

Phipps director and assistant brewer, Roy Crutchley, said: “To find out that we are part of something that goes back 800 years really makes us feel like part of the local heritage.

“It’s fascinating to see how well planned the process was. This oven on the site would have produced about a tonne of barley maltings at a time which could then be taken somewhere nearby to turn into beer.

“It would have tasted very different back then, probably a lot stronger but, no doubt, safer to drink than the local water.”

Channel 4’s Time Team programme’s post-Roman pottery expert, Paul Blinkhorn, attended two open days at site and exhibited pieces of jewellery and pottery that had been found.

Mr Blinkhorn, who lives in Abington and used to work on archaeology projects in Northampton, said: “It’s early days to say exactly what we have here, but we have uncovered boxes and boxes of pieces and I will be looking at each individually to find patterns of change to help date the site.

MOLA senior project manager, Jim Brown, said: “We expected to find a series of medieval building plots as, towards the end of the 13th Century, the town was in its heyday with industry and investment flooding in after King John said he wanted to make it the capital town of England.

“In getting to this level, 2.5m below ground, we’ve also come across remains of Victorian workshop cellars and, when we have finished on the medieval site, we will see if there is anything deeper before finishing completely in September.”

Author: Francesca Gosling | Source: Northampton Chronicle [August 10, 2014]

Original article:

Archaeologists have unearthed a medieval ‘malting’ oven in Northampton
[Credit: Northampton Chronicle]

Ceramic finds retrieved from the site [Credit: Northampton Chronicle]

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Reconstruction of the brewery, fig. K. Rosińska-Balik

Topic Brewery

Over 5.5 thousand years old brewing installation discovered by Polish archaeological mission at Tell el-Farcha in Egypt has been reconstructed in 3D by Karolina Rosińska-Balik, PhD student at the Jagiellonian University Institute of Archaeology.

“The presented reconstruction is a hypothetical assumption based on preserved structures of similar analogous buildings at both Tell el-Farcha and other brewing centres in Upper Egypt” – reserved the archaeologist.

The installation consists of three vat pits and measures about 3.4 by 4 m. The entire structure, with plan reminiscent of a three-leaf clover, was surrounded by a wall with a height of up to 60 cm. Vat pits were also separated from each other with low, narrow walls.

In order to stabilize the vessels used for brewing beer, base was used in the form of a solid clay, which was surrounded by a clay ring with a clear break.

“The purpose of this solution was probably better air circulation, which in turn would allow better control of constant temperature. Such base was usually surrounded with two concentric rows of bricks with D-shaped cross-section, designed to sustain the vessel” – explained Karolina Rosińska-Balik.

Three-dimensional reconstruction of the brewery was carried out in several stages. The first step was the preparation of linear drawings allowing to capture the actual condition of the structure immediately after the discovery. This phase consisted of the introduction of the original drawing into the computer space. Computer drawing in an appropriate scale was used as a base to create a three-dimensional copy of the brewery. The next step in the virtual reconstruction was to recreate the basic building blocks used to erect the complex. According to the researcher, this material were three types of bricks made of mud mixed with chaff and burned.

“Thus prepared three-dimensional bricks made it possible to start the next stage of reconstruction. The work leading to the creation of the virtual model was a tedious process of laying bricks one by one, almost like at a real construction site. For greater clarity and transparency of the structure, I decided to only partially erect the maximum dimensions of the walls, and only one completely reconstructed vessel” – said the PhD student.

The remaining pits are shown at various stages, allowing to show all the details of their design. In the next phase, the resulting model was combined with specially prepared representations of materials, giving the reconstruction a more realistic feel. The last step to obtain a three-dimensional visualization of the brewery was taking the appropriate shots – from several points of view.

“For centuries, beer was primary and major food product for Egyptians. The oldest record that mentions beer is a list of grave goods found on the stele in the tomb of the third dynasty belonging to Sekherhabau – almost five thousand years old, and thanks to our excavations, we know that the tradition goes back even further into the history of Egypt” – added Rosińska-Balik.

The oldest previously found brewery is also located in Egypt, at the site Hieraconpolis, and it is connected to the Nagada culture. Breweries discovered by Polish archaeologists had been used by the local population, called by archaeologists the Lower Egyptian culture. This is the first brewing structures found to belong to this community.

The site of Tell el-Farcha has been studied for fifteen years by the Polish expedition to the Eastern Nile Delta, led by Prof. Krzysztof Ciałowicz of the Institute of Archaeology of the Jagiellonian University, and Dr. Marek Chłodnicki of the Archaeological Museum in Poznań. The settlement functioned in this place for nearly 1000 years (ca. 3700 – 2700 BC). First it was a strong centre of local Lower Egyptian culture, then an important centre of power during the formation of unified Egyptian state. The most valuable finds of Polish archaeologists include golden statues of a ruler and his son, temple deposit of high quality human figures made of ivory, cylindrical seals, items made of bone, stone, flint, copper and gold.

Original article:
May 2013

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