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Israeli scientists brew beer with revived ancient yeasts

Prof. Aren Maeir, from Bar Ilan University, holds an ancient jar and a glass of beer during a press conference in Jerusalem, Wednesday, May 22, 2019. Israeli researchers celebrated Wednesday a long-brewing project of making beer and mead using yeasts extracted from ancient clay vessels -- some over 5,000 years old. Archaeologists and microbiologists teamed up to study yeast colonies found in microscopic pores in ancient pottery fragments. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

JERUSALEM — Israeli researchers raised a glass Wednesday to celebrate a long-brewing project of making beer and mead using yeasts extracted from ancient clay vessels —some over 5,000 years old.

Archaeologists and microbiologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority and four Israeli universities teamed up to study yeast colonies found in microscopic pores in pottery fragments. The shards were found at Egyptian, Philistine and Judean archaeological sites in Israel spanning from 3,000 BC to the 4th century BC.

The scientists are touting the brews made from “resurrected” yeasts as an important step in experimental archaeology, a field that seeks to reconstruct the past in order to better understand the flavour of the ancient world.

Ilan Ben Zion, The Associated Press