Botanical evidence of malt for beer production in fifth–seventh Century Uppåkra, Sweden

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Abstract

The excavation of a low-temperature kiln structure at an affluent Iron Age regional center, Uppåkra, located in southern Sweden, revealed from archeobotanical samples and its context evidence of malting in the process to make beer. Carbonized germinated hulled barley grain (Hordeum vulgare) was recovered from the kiln structure itself and from the surrounding occupational
surface. Located somewhat from the central area of the site, where previous excavations have uncovered hall-buildings, a ceremonial structure, and several smaller houses, the investigated kiln was situated in an area on the site that is absent of remains to indicate a living quarter. Activities using kilns have instead primarily been linked to this area and archeological finds are mainly of charred crops remains. In this paper, we argue that the germination of grain was deliberate and that the kiln was used to stop the germination process by drying or roasting the grain. If the malting process for large-scale beer production was carried out at a designated area of the site is discussed, as well as if this activity area was part of a structural organization observed elsewhere on the settlement.

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Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Archaeology

Keywords

  • Hordeum vulgare, Hordeum vulgare ssp vulgare, Beer production, malting, Kiln, Scandinavian Iron Age, Uppåkra
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1961-1972
JournalArchaeological and Anthropological Sciences
Volume11
Issue number5
Early online date2018 May 8
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes