Archaeologists discover 5,000-year-old pub in Iraq
A team of researchers has uncovered an ancient, 5,000-year-old pub in Iraq believed to date back to 2,700 BCE, which was buried just 19 inches below the surface.
The archaeologists first discovered an open courtyard space, before further excavations revealed that the tavern had been split into indoor and outdoor seating areas. Indoors, the tavern contained benches, an oven, ancient remains of food and, remarkably, a 5,000-year-old ‘fridge’ (a moisture-wicking container intended to keep food cool).
They also discovered a number of bowls containing the remnants of fish. This led the team to discover that the outdoor courtyard area had also been used as a dining space.
“I think the first feature to show itself was this very large oven and it’s actually beautiful,” University of Pennsylvania archaeologist Reed Goodman told CNN. “From various burning episodes and deposits of ash it left a sort of rainbow coloration in the soils and the interior is framed by these big bricks.”
The discovery was made in the ancient city of Lagash, which was once one of the oldest and biggest cities in southern Mesopotamia. The town, now named al-Hiba has become a site of significant importance to archaeologists.
The discovery of the tavern challenges the view that ancient society was not merely divided by elites and the enslaved, but that a middle class may also have existed at the time.
“The fact that you have a public gathering place where people can sit down and have a pint and have their fish stew, they’re not laboring under the tyranny of kings,” Goodman put it.
More than 5,000 years later, society still loves an al-fresco pint in the sun.