|La Sima by Luis Pascual Repiso, Aratikos Arqueólogos S. L.|
She points out that alcohol beverages have likely been in Europe since the Early Neolithic. Various evidences from Cardial to Grooved Ware point that direction. Her conclusion is that beer takes on a new meaning with the ideology and idealism of Bell Beaker Culture.
To go off tangent here...
One thing not too surprising is the presence of henbane in some of the Meseta beakers. In fact, before beer was hopped, probably all beer gruits, including those of the Christian era, were mildly psychoactive. Henebane was probably one of many different additives used for beer gruit.
European purity laws had tinkered with regulating beer ingredients since the eleventh century, but it was the Protestant Reformation that fueled the anti-gruit lobby (see here) and this was imposed by various duchies during the Holy Roman Empire, the most famous known as the Reinheitsgebot.
The purity laws had a complex mix of cronyism and politics, but it appears that Protestants were more interested in lowering the hotness of beer, whose additives multiplied alcohol's unchaste behaviors and chemical dependence. Hops, it was known, made the drinker sedated, relaxed, and the estrogenic compounds decreased libido or increase erectile dysfunction. So hops it came to be.
|Henbane, the Witch's plant. [USDA Forrest Service]|
The linguistic etymology for henbane and hemp similarly emerge from PIE bhongo or soma1, generally attributed to the sun god who rides at daybreak. Because PIE does not appear to distinguish from various psychoactives, it's possible multiple drugs were lumped into a single category.
A possible etymology of English hene-bane or heng-belle may also be found in Old High German as constructed by Siebs as the German god, Henno Wotan, aka the Roman sun-god Mercury or Greek Apollo. (Liberman, 2008) It's interesting to note that the etymology associates the various sun gods + death (aka hene) for people who were buried facing the sunrise (regardless if it was hyoscyamus niger or not) But it's also interesting to note that both PtG hene and pech are associated with black resins.
A long list of mood altering additives were originally put in alcoholic beverages, especially beer. I'm very interested in seeing a more complete chemical analysis from beaker pottery and dental plaque. I think the decoration of European pottery hints at some of those substances.
La cerveza en la prehistoria reciente: contextos de producción y consumo en la Península Ibérica, Alicia Vaca Alonso, Universidad de Valledoloid, 2014 [Link]
(1) Flattery & Swartz on Soma [here]
*In fact, the Greek word, Herba Apollinaris, is 'the herb of Apollo'