Many anthropologists credit the cessation of mankind’s nomadic behavior to the onset of agrarian activities. There are those who believe that planting and cultivating was first done so that ancient man not only had a food supply, but could produce alcohol. Even before that time, man may have already discovered honeywine—mead. Some archeological finds in China support this theory.
Digs in Henan province have yielded pieces of pottery that served as drink storage vessels that have been radiocarbon-dated to around 7000 BC. Chinese researchers and archaeologists from the University of Pennsylvania found 13 of 16 potsherds tested had trace elements of fermented beverages made from honey, hawthorn fruit, rice and grapes. Scientists say that finds from this period produce some of the earliest evidence of primitive farming and the use of tools.
The dig at Jiahu, a village from the Neolithic period, is the earliest recorded find of alcohol playing a part in civilization. It predates the previously earliest proof from Iran by at least 1,500 years. The researcher’s findings have been published in the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.