ARCHAEOLOGISTS working in western Cyprus are raising a glass to the discovery of a Bronze Age "microbrewery".
The team excavated a 2m-by-2m mud-plaster domed structure which it says was used as a kiln to dry malt and make beer 3,500 years ago.
Beers of different flavours would have been brewed from malted barley and fermented with yeasts with an alcoholic content of around 5pc. The yeast would have either been wild or produced from fruit such as grape or fig, according to the researchers.
Dr Lindy Crewe, from the University of Manchester, has led the excavation at the Early-Middle Bronze Age settlement of Kissonerga-Skalia, near Paphos, since 2007.
She said: "Archaeologists believe beer drinking was an important part of society from the Neolithic onwards and may have even been the main reason that people began to cultivate grain in the first place.
"But it's extremely rare to find the remains of production preserved from thousands of years ago so we're very excited.
"The excavation of the malting kiln with associated sets of pottery types and tools left in place gives us a fantastic opportunity to look at Bronze Age toolkits and figure out techniques and recipes."