Beauties and beer: Another Peruvian tale

Nov 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

Explore further: Entrepreneurs to venture capitalists: Don't be a Scrooge

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

James Watson's Nobel Prize to be auctioned

9 hours ago

Missed the chance to bid on Francis Crick's Nobel Prize when it was auctioned off last year for $2.27 million? No worries, you'll have another chance to own a piece of science history on Dec. 4, when James D. Watson's 1962 ...

Over-identifying restrictions in economic analysis

15 hours ago

The analysis of empirical economics has long made use of a tool called the generalized method of moments (GMM). This method is used as a generic way of estimating parameters in an empirical model where the ...

User comments : 0

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.