Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Drinking with Straw (Turek, 2020) pt. 2

And then there's this... (cont. from pt. 1)

Bell beakers, as well as for example earlier Michelsberg Culture tulip beakers (see Figure 4), have sometimes extremely everted rims, that make direct drinking almost impossible. Such pots may have been used as containers or vessels for manipulation of liquids prior to their consumption, or they were designed for drinking using a straw, such as it is known from beer drinking scenes of ancient Mesopotamia or Egypt.


The beaker below gives you an idea of what an everted rim looks like, but suffice to say that it does not pour well and you can't drink without half of the beverage running down your beard.  I doubt Bronze Age women would appreciate that.  

Another point he makes is that some beakers are obscenely big to the point of being impractical.  Bell beaker beer steins aren't little 12 oz mugs.  They are often huge.

Another point about beards and mustaches (I can tell you from personal experience), they are difficult to eat and drink with.  If you're going on a date, no hot wings, spaghetti, ice cream, or basically anything.  In fact, in the 19th century the popularity of big mustaches caused a resurgence of the rye straw and the beverage guard.  

So how beverages were consumed might tell us a little about their grooming habits or the style of beer that was consumed.

Turek then discusses the Central European Corded Ware graves of men, women and children that often contained what appears to have been a beer-containing amphora, often without any accompanying cup to drink.  With this, he suggests that these beers could have been sipped much as we see in the Near East, and again it may reflect a certain 'style' of beer.

It's important to note that even up until the Iron Age, Thracians and Dacians consumed beer with straws, much to the disgust of their more civilized Greek neighbors.  Of course, drinking beer this way doesn't reflect some primitive way of brewing (as some retarded people suggests), rather it reflects a particular style of beer (bread beer), and one that seems to have been a favorite in Mesopotamia.

To give an example of this "ethnic style of beer" we see a Semitic man named Trr, drinking beer with his probably Egyptian wife, Irbr.  Rachel Sparks (2014) suggests that drinking beer from straws was limited to Asiatics in Egypt, as Egyptians never really adopted the use of straws.  In other words, Egyptians drank beer like you and me.

The Hubbard Amphora 800BC (Cyprus Museum in Nicosia (1938-XI/2/3))

Another example is the Hubbard Amphora which Diakaios suggests is not actually representative of how Cypriots drank their beer, but as in the previous example represents a foreign type.  See Brewing Classical Styles for commentary on Dikaios, P. 1936/1937. “An Iron Age Painted Amphora in the Cyprus Museum.” BSA 37: 56-72.

Using rye grass straws seems to have come in and out of vogue in Europe through the centuries, and surprise, rye straws are coming back as a more ecologically-friendly alternative to plastic straws or the worthless, recycled paper straws.

See also, "The Barbarian's Beverage:"  Max Nelson


  1. Results from the Gad et al. 2020 study 'Maternal and Paternal Lineages in King Tutankhamun’s Family' were just posted on anthrogenica:



    1. That's awesome, thanks. I think they're clearing the decks because more is one the way.


  3. It's really quite amusing to see how grudging they are to admit these people were M269.
    It takes years before the data is confirmed.
    When confirmation finally comes, it provides even more data that points to M269.
    Yet they still only match it to R1b in general, making it look as vague as possible.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. In fairness, Tutankhamen's remains have been continuously handled for the last 98 years. You'd think in the modern era they'd handle remains in low oxygen clean rooms with bunny suits and forced air. Nope. Just a bunch of really sweaty dudes that open up the glass case and pick the body up on a count of three. It's the most bizarre thing.

      Another consideration is the fact that much of the mummy contact in the last hundred years has been with Atlantic Europeans, usually British and Frenchmen. So to have what appears AMH in an unexpected place may have really caused them to second guess themselves.

      The issue I would have is why then assume Rameses the Great's profile is accurate. I mean it's equally possible that a bunch of E1b1 guys where hacking in Arabic all over his remains as well. But again, I very strongly suspect we'll soon see a very intense effort to extract the most supremely high resolution Y-dna possible from the entire 18th dynasty (where bodies are available) and beyond because of the unbelievably unique opportunity to see so many generations of a family that far back. Plus, this might allow them to verify some of the nameless bodies they have or verify the current histories.

    3. I suppose so, although the STRs are indicative of a dead end M269 lineage not found in modern samples, so contamination with the DNA of one of the archaeologists is not a feasible explanation for it.

    4. Which lineage do you think it is?

    5. Beyond M269 it's hard to say; the STRs have some atypical features that don't match any modern samples. The docdroid data has one difference and one addition to the igenea data, which throws open the prediction more widely. My original thoughts were Y139456 or a DF27 lineage; now some Z2103 lineages also look possibilities.

    6. For Akhenaten, Nevgen gives R1b-U152 1st, and R1b-DF27 2nd. So pretty similar to the earlier results.

    7. @ Nicholas Paul,

      Any opinion on the Nevgen result?

  4. U152 and DF27 probably encompassed a wide variety of haplotypes by the time Tutankhamun; both are possible. An extinct basal branch of L151>A8053 or Y139456 still seems to fit slightly better, but perhaps there are insufficient modern samples for these to be included in Nevgen.

    I've re-examined Z2103, and its subclades with closer matches look far too recent for Tutankhamun.

    I stumbled across a L51(xL52) sample in Yemen. It is pretty diverse from European L51(xL52) samples - its distance to the closest sample I could find was an estimated 3,603 years. While not close to Tutankhamun, I would not be surprised if their ancestors arrived in that part of the world together. The Yemeni is from a close-knit tribe historically hired out as mercenaries.

  5. Amenhotep III (Tutankhamun's paternal grandfather and sharing his yDNA) is said to have been the maternal grandson of an (Indo-European-named) Mitanni king, and with another Mitanni king referring to him as 'brother'. His main wife's father is claimed to have been non-native. And he clearly followed the Beakerish practice of alliance-induced exogamy, as he also married several daughters of Mitanni, Babylonian and Western Anatolian kings. So I suppose it is not really too much of a surprise to find them M269.

  6. To return to the main subject matter, different beer-drinking 'styles' (e.g. with straws) seem to have been carried across into Egypt and Greece by people from elsewhere. If there had been a distinctive culture of beer drinking in these places, then I suspect their original terms for 'beer' might have remained in use. Instead we find peoples from Germany all the way across to Italy, Russia, Greece, Anatolia, the Middle East and India all adopting the word 'beer' as they adopted the culture. Before that point in most of these places, beer was perhaps simply a drink, and had no great iconic or ritualistic significance.

    On the other hand, the languages of far Western Europe have retained their words for beer - cwru (Welsh), gargadoa (Basque), cerveza (Spanish/Portuguese), ol (Scandinavian) - indicating that beer drinking was likely to have already been endemic to their cultures before the 'beer' drinkers arrived, so there was no impetus to bring in a new word for it.

  7. Just noticed the Egyptian guy is sitting on a folding stool, similar to those found in Bronze Age Scandinavia.

    1. Yes, Tutankhamun's tomb in Egypt contained a folding chair dated to 1,330 BC. The Daensen tomb near the North Sea in Germany contained a similar folding chair dated to 1,400 BC.
      Both tombs are said to have contained royals.
      Tutankhamun's DNA looks likely to be R1b-L51, and there was plenty of R1b-L51 in North Western Europe at that time. Tutankhamun's STRs closely match those of a modern subclade of R1b-A8053, which is principally a North West European haplogroup.
      There are a number of similarities.

  8. Of the three main beer-centric cultures distinguished by linguistics, the Italo-Atlantean one is probably the most interesting, as it appears to show origins in Armenia:
    Beer in Armenian is garejur. This morphs into garagardoa in Basque and cwru/korevor in Welsh/Cornish; and into cerveja/cerveza/cervisia in Portuguese/Spanish/Latin. A link with R1b-L23 seems likely, as Armenia has a largest range of basal branches of Z2103, and the Basque Country and Wales have the highest concentrations of R1b-L51. Perhaps R1b Bell Beakers and Yamnayans each emerged ultimately from a ritualistic beer-drinking culture of the Caucasus?

    The other apparent beer-centric cultures may well have similar roots - Scandinavian 'ale'-drinking ritual imported by Single Grave Culture people partly related to Bell Beakers, and Central European 'beer' drinking ritual imported by R1b-Vucedol and spread extensively both westwards by Celts and eastwards/south eastwards by Indo-Aryans and Slavs?

    Although people drank beer long before this, was it only within these later cultures that it acquired a real iconic/ritualistic significance?