Dig it: The "beer archaeologist" comes here

Written by Bob Batz Jr. on

11282012beerbookBeer events are rampant, but one of the last places you'd expect to find one is at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

Yet that East Liberty institution invites you to a lecture on ancient brewing by "the beer archaeologist" Patrick McGovern at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 6, after which there will be a tasting of historically inspired brews.

Professor McGovern is the scientific director at the Biomolecular Archaeology Laboratory for Cuisine, Fermented Beverages, and Health at the University of Pennsylvania Museum in Philadelphia and the author of two books: "Uncorking the Past: The Quest for Wine, Beer, and Other Alcoholic Beverages" (University of California Press, 2009) and "Ancient Wine: The Search for the Origins of Viniculture" (Princeton University Press, 2007), both of which will be available for purchase at the event, in the Knox Room of Long Hall.

His talk will be titled, “Uncorking the Past: The Biomolecular Archaeology of Wines, Beers, and Extreme Beverages.” He'll discuss the role of biomolecular analysis in his research on ancient brewing, which began, according to a news release, "with materials excavated by the University of Pennsylvania at Gordion in central Turkey, the ancestral home of King Midas."

It was Mr. McGovern who, analyzing residues from a funeral feast, discovered the ingredients of a mixed drink of grape wine, barley beer, and mead that is now being made by Delaware's Dogfish Head Brewery. That brewery also has made brews based on materials excavated at Jiahu in the Yellow River Valley of China, as well as in Egypt, Central America and Europe.

The talk will touch on a range of topics illuminated by biomolecular archaeology: human ancestry and genetic development, agriculture and diet, health and medical practice, trade, religion, and the arts.

It makes sense that the tasting, for those 21 and older of course, includes Dogfish Head's Midas TouchChateau Jiahu, and Ta Henket

Register online at or call 412-924-1395 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mon.-Saturday).

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.