10 Fascinating Discoveries About The Anasazi

Also known as the Anasazi, the ancestral Pueblos were a prehistoric Native American nation. They left behind breathtaking buildings and mysterious graves. Extensive research has been done on this Pre-Columbian society that originated around 1200 BC, and some of it yielded remarkable genetic information, exposing the true power players, advanced knowledge, and trade routes. Scientists even met the more human side of the people who stretched throughout the Four Corners of the United States.

10. They Made Beer

Many Native American groups mastered beer-making in antiquity. Southwestern Pueblos was thought to have hung on to their sobriety until the 16th-century arrival of the Spanish, who brought grapes. Recently, 800-year-old pottery shards were examined. They belonged to the Pueblos who historians had believed stayed dry, while other tribes consumed a weak corn beer called tiswin.

This didn’t make sense to archaeologist Glenna Dean. Refusing to believe that this New Mexico group could be so isolated and out of touch with neighboring tribes, she took the shards to Sandia National Laboratories. There, she received access to scanning technologies usually reserved for national defense. Dean also tested pots used by modern Tarahumara groups to brew tiswin and vessels in which she brewed her own.

All three samples showed the same residue commonly created during beer fermentation. Despite the similarities, it cannot be said for certain the shards came from a pot of intentionally fermented kernels. Even so, it’s the first evidence that this “sober society” had their fun too.

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