And yet again (laddie) Scotland leads the way!
Famously, one 1980s archaeological dig at Kinloch on the Outer Hebrides' Isle of Rhum found apparent residue from a long-evaporated beverage. The pottery it came from dated back about 4,000 years. Microscopic analysis detected pollen grains, which suggested high levels of heather, and some meadowsweet and royal fern. "If you regarded them as a recipe, then you can ask 'what would they make'," says Caroline Wickham-Jones, one of the excavation's archaeologists. "And one of the things was heather ale as a fermented drink – but it might easily have been a mouthwash or something." Still, Wickham-Jones and her team enlisted the help of a Glenfiddich distillery to brew a new ale inspired by this potential recipe. "It was fabulous," she says.
Traces of meadowsweet have also been found in Neolithic beakers at Aberdeenshire and Fife. Still, the Fife specimen was found in a burial site and Alison Sheridan, the early prehistory curator at National Museums Scotland, notes that meadowsweet may simply have been added in order to counteract the smell of decaying flesh.
Or the smell of their socks from treading the mead?
At a building site in London, 2,000-year-old wooden writing tablets have been discovered. They mention a "maltster" or "brewer" named Tertius. The find has been described as the first written record of brewing in London. There are also references to brewing at a famous Roman site, Vindolanda, in the north of England. "There's a letter from an officer asking for more ale for his troops – it's hard to tell whether he's drinking with them or not," says Joshua Driscoll, a PhD student in anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. It is widely believed that Romans were importing wine to British forts in amphorae. "Some people might extrapolate from that that you had officers drinking wine and soldiers drinking ale," says Driscoll.
The design of drinking vessels also hints that Roman and Medieval Brits were drinking alcoholic beverages, says Jonathan Horn, an archaeologist at the University of Edinburgh. Horn has studied tankards dating from the British Iron Age, the period from roughly 2,800 to 1,900 years ago. The tankards have interesting forms. Some are like little barrels, for instance, and are often ornamented with intricate metalwork and small handles. "A lot of time, effort and wealth were put into these vessels – they clearly just weren't drinking water out of them," says Horn. "We see basically an uptake of these native vessels, specifically, within the Roman army. They're clearly taking on the native drinking culture."
Ale take the high road...
Or, native Brits teaching the Roman army how to drink proper? (like what we do)http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20161130 ... rewed-beer