Beer, bread and porridge were staples of Iron Age

Tiny fragments of charred residue from a beer-making process, potentially from as early as 400BC suggesting an Iron Age brew, that were discovered during a project to widen the A14.
Tiny fragments of charred residue from a beer-making process, potentially from as early as 400BC suggesting an Iron Age brew, that were discovered during a project to widen the A14.
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An Iron Age brew that could be the earliest beer produced in Britain has been uncovered by engineers widening a stretch of the A14 near Cambridge.

Charred fragments of brewing residue, unearthed by archaeologists, are said to date from as early as 400BC.

The experts say there is also evidence that locals had a taste for porridge and bread.

Dr Steve Sherlock, of Highways England, said: “It’s a well-known fact that ancient populations used the beer-making process to purify water and create a safe source of hydration, but this is potentially the earliest physical evidence of that process taking place in the UK.”

Lara Gonzalez, who is one of around 250 archaeologists on the project, made the discovery.

“I knew when I looked at these tiny fragments under the microscope that I had something special,” she said. “It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack but, as an archaeobotanist, it’s incredibly exciting to identify remains of this significance.

Beer expert Roger Protz said the invading Romans found the local tribes brewing a type of beer called curmi.

“East Anglia has always been of great importance to brewing as a result of the quality of the barley,” he said.