Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Beer and bronze swords

At the experimental archaeology event at Brodick Castle there was some bronze age brewing, organised by the Arran Brewery.  The beer was surprisingly tasty, and very sweet.

Some of the oldest evidence of brewing (bronze age brewing anyway) was found on Machrie Moor, so it was very appropriate that they were brewing bronze age beer on Arran.

 Busy brewers.

There were a variety of ingredients being used. All local if I remember right.

This was juniper leaves & berries and rose petals I think. Add ...

... stir well...

... and leave to brew.

The mixture was then left to ferment in tubs set into the ground. Of course in the bronze age it would have been pots made for the purpose, which is what they used in this event for the actual brewing on the fire. But the plastic troughs were obviously easier for the purpose!  They think that in the bronze age everyone - men, women and children - would have drunk beer and the yeasty frothy topping would have kept the beer clean. It would be scraped across and a drinking vessel or jug dipped in, the beer served and then the yeasty frothy topping would keep the beer clean and 'fresh' until it was needed.
There was also bronze age metalwork and we saw a sword being made.
 "Here's one I made earlier."

I liked the mixture of ancient technology with the modern temperature gauge!
Lifting the crucible out of the fire...

... pouring the molten bronze into the mould...

... until it was full to the brim.

If you can't find a modern-day screwdriver, then use a bronze-age replica sword!

Opening the mould...

... and removing the hot sword.


After it was cooled, it was carefully passed around. It was incredibly sharp!

Amazing stuff.

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