Beauties and beer: Another Peruvian tale

November 15, 2005
Beauties and beer: Another Peruvian tale

It sounds like part of a bad movie plot, but Chicago scientists have found ruins of an A.D. 600 Peruvian brewery run by beautiful "brewmistresses."

Image: This one of the shawl pins found on the floor of a 1,000-year-old brewery built by the Wari empire high in the Andes mountains of Peru. The finding suggests the brewers who made the brew -- based on a pepper tree berry and known today as chicha -- were wealthy women of the highest social class.

The archeologists say the brewery in southern Peru was probably staffed by women selected for their "beauty or nobility," the Chicago Sun-Times reported. But the newspaper also noted one mark of feminine loveliness at the time was a sloped forehead.

Patrick Ryan Williams, a Chicago Field Museum curator, said the beer, made with corn and pepper berry, was called chicha, and was at "the heart" of the Wari culture.

Williams and his wife were members of the team that scaled the 2,500-foot "sacred mountain'' on which the brewery operated for about 400 years until it was abandoned.

The Wari culture disappeared shortly before A.D. 1100. The scientists note previous research indicated the Inca society, which emerged about 200 years later, also used elite women as brewmistresses.

The research, authored by Michael Mosely of the University of Florida, appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Microsoft describes hard-to-mimic authentication gesture

August 1, 2015

Photos. Messages. Bank account codes. And so much more—sit on a person's mobile device, and the question is, how to secure them without having to depend on lengthy password codes of letters and numbers. Vendors promoting ...

Netherlands bank customers can get vocal on payments

August 1, 2015

Are some people fed up with remembering and using passwords and PINs to make it though the day? Those who have had enough would prefer to do without them. For mobile tasks that involve banking, though, it is obvious that ...

Model shows how surge in wealth inequality may be reversed

July 30, 2015

(Phys.org)—For many Americans, the single biggest problem facing the country is the growing wealth inequality. Based on income tax data, wealth inequality in the US has steadily increased since the mid-1980s, with the top ...

A cataclysmic event of a certain age

July 27, 2015

At the end of the Pleistocene period, approximately 12,800 years ago—give or take a few centuries—a cosmic impact triggered an abrupt cooling episode that earth scientists refer to as the Younger Dryas.

New blow for 'supersymmetry' physics theory

July 27, 2015

In a new blow for the futuristic "supersymmetry" theory of the universe's basic anatomy, experts reported fresh evidence Monday of subatomic activity consistent with the mainstream Standard Model of particle physics.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.