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Archaeologists Have Found Remnants Of What They Believe Is The UK's First Beer

Archaeologists are claiming to have discovered something quite special in the United Kingdom, according to Sky News.

A team working along the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon found small fragments of charred residue while working on a project to widen a road. And they believe it's evidence of the first beer brewed in the UK.

The experts reckon the brew possibly goes back to 400BC.

"It's a well-known fact that ancient populations used the beer-making process to purify water and create a safe source of hydration," Dr. Steve Sherlock, the Highways England archaeology lead for the A14 project, explained.

"But this is potentially the earliest physical evidence of that process taking place in the UK."

The fragments were discovered by Lara Gonzalez, one of about 250 archaeologists working on the site.

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via news.sky.com

"I knew when I looked at these tiny fragments under the microscope that I had something special," she said.

"The microstructure of these remains had clearly changed through the fermentation process and air bubbles typical of those formed in the boiling and mashing process of brewing.

"It's like looking for a needle in a haystack but, as an archaeobotanist, it's incredibly exciting to identify remains of this significance and to play a part in uncovering the fascinating history of the Cambridgeshire landscape."

Gonzalez noted that the porous structures of the fragments were similar to bread. However, microscopic observation picked up evidence of fermentation while larger pieces of cracked grains and bran, as well as the absence of fine flour, pointed to beer-making residue.

Former editor of the Campaign for Real Ale's Good Beer Guide and beer expert, Roger Protz, also revealed that East Anglia was always an important spot for brewing because of all of the barley grown in the region. He reckons the beer was probably made from grain as hops weren't used in the UK until the 15th century.

"It's known as maritime barley and is prized throughout the world," Protz said. "When the Romans invaded Britain they found the local tribes brewing a type of beer called curmi."

The fragments weren't the only thing found at the site. A wooly mammoth tusk, an abandoned medieval village, and several prehistoric burial grounds were also discovered.

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