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Oldest evidence of malted barley shows ancient Scandinavians made beer

Carbonised barley malt from the Viking Age settlement at Hundborg in northern Jutland

Peter Steen Henriksen/National Museum of Denmark

Ancient malted barley grains have revealed that Danes were likely brewing beer and raising their drinking horns at least two millennia ago.

The oldest known beers in the world trace back to the beginning of agriculture in the Middle East. In Scandinavia, the oldest evidence of beer is based on residue in a bark bucket from roughly 1370 BC which was found in the grave of a Bronze Age teenager known as the Egtved Girl. But chemical analysis shows that beer …

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