Friday, March 23, 2012

Iron Age Parties

As noted previously, my birthday celebration was low-key, even if accentuated by the sounds of sporting gunfire. I didn't even get to my beer. In contrast, low-key apparently wasn't in the cards for Iron Age Europeans. At least that's what archeologists are telling us. These scientists conclude that "heavy drinking was a communal activity spearheaded by the social elites."
It turns out Europe 2,600 years ago was pretty much exactly like one big college frat, with social elites vying for power and influence by throwing the most kickass parties - complete with lots of free beer.
That's one of the findings of a ten-year study of German Iron Age sites led by archaeologist Bettina Arnold of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Though these pre-Roman peoples left no written records behind to tell us their history, everything we excavated shows that these ancient Europeans were all about the drinking. Arnold and her team have found all sorts of drinking vessels in the graves around Iron Age hillforts, suggesting people's favorite mugs were so important in life that they wanted to stay together in death.
See "Iron Age Europe was all about beer drinking and 'competitive feasting'" for more on the findings.

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