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Welcome to African Archaeology!

The Journal of African Archaeology is an international peer-reviewed periodical appearing half-yearly since 2003. It publishes original papers addressing recent research and developments in African archaeology and related disciplines. The journal's main purpose is to provide scholars and students with a new pan-African forum for discussing relevant topics on the cultural dynamics of past African societies.

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Vol. 13 (1) 2015

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B.S. Wayessa, D. Lyons & B. Kooyman

Ethnoarchaeological Study of Brewing Technology in Wallaga Region of Western Oromia, Ethiopia

Journal of African Archaeology, Volume 13 (1), 2015, pages 99-114, DOI 10.3213/2191-5784-10268

Abstract

In Wallaga, local beer (farso) is one of the most common alcoholic beverages. The beverage is prepared from cereals such as sorghum, millet, maize and barley and an additive plant known as gesho (Rhamnus prinoides). The beer is fermented in a ceramic jar known as huuroo. The brewing process causes pitting in the interior walls. Because most fermentation processes cause pitting of ceramic vessels, use alteration analysis cannot specifically identify past beer brewing practice. Ethnoarchaeological research of beer fermentation in Wallaga shows that in addition to erosion of interior walls of beer jars, the beer fermentation process results in the deposition of residues on the interior walls of the vessels. This residue from beer brewing is different from residue left by other processes because it includes ingredients not incorporated into other foods. As a result, plant microresidue analysis of archaeological ceramics can help to identify past brewing practices and major ingredients of indigenous beer.


Résumé

À Wallaga, la bière locale (farso) est l'une des boissons alcoolisées les plus courantes. La boisson est préparée à partir de céréales comme le sorgho, le mil, le maïs et l'orge et un additif connu sous le nom de gesho (Rhamnus prinoides). La bière est fermentée dans un pot en céramique connu sous le nom de huuroo. Le brassage cause de petites fosses sur les parois intérieures du pot. Puisque la plupart des procédés de fermentation crée des surfaces criblées de fosses, l'analyse des traces d'usure ne peut déterminer exactement les anciennes pratiques de brassage. La recherche ethnoarchéologique sur la production de la bière à Wallaga montre qu'en plus de l'érosion des parois intérieures des pots à bière, la fermentation cause aussi le dépôt de résidus sur les parois intérieures des céramiques. Ce résidu de brassage est différent des autres puisqu'il contient des ingrédients que l'on ne retrouve pas dans les autres nourritures préparées par fermentation. C'est pourquoi l'analyse de résidu végétal retrouvé sur la céramique provenant des sites archéologiques peut nous aider à identifier les anciennes pratiques de brassage, ainsi que les principaux ingrédients de la bière indigène.



Keywords: beer, Ethiopia, ethnoarchaeology, Oromia, starch analysis, use-alteration analysis, Wallaga


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Shadreck Chirikure, South Africa
A. Catherine D'Andrea, Canada
Manfred K.H. Eggert, Germany
Elena Garcea, Italy
Diane Gifford-Gonzalez, USA
Timothy Insoll, UK
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Eric Huysecom, Switzerland
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Savino di Lernia, Italy
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David W. Phillipson, UK
Gilbert Pwiti, Zimbabwe
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Robert Vernet, France
Lyn Wadley, South Africa

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