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Ancient Brewery Found

By Rachelle Bowden in News on Aug 2, 2004 12:00PM

Ancient Brewery Found - Photo: APYou know what? Leave it to a group of Chicago scientists to go out 8,000 feet above sea-level in the Andes and find a freaking brewery! Archeologists from the Field Museum uncovered a brewery in the mountains of southern Peru where members of the pre-Inca Wari Empire made a spicy, beer-like alcoholic drink called chicha. And not just a little bit of it.. it was a large-scale brewery that they estimate was capable of making a few thousand liters of chicha a day. Scientists previously knew that the Wari made this bev, but not that they made it on such a scale. The brewery may be the oldest facility of its kind ever discovered in the Andes.

Scientists think that the Wari people drank chicha as part as a ritual intoxication. The Wari thrived from about AD700 - AD1000 and conquered all of what is now Peru before mysteriously & rapidly declining. Researchers think that the Wari knew they were going down and that they destroyed the brewery by burning it.

More in-depth information, including more on the Wari, the Wari rituals, and expedition maps, photos and video, can be found on the Field Museum's site.