Around Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales and the Isle of Man there are thousands of ancient sites called Burnt Mounds or Fulacht Fiadh. The horseshoe or circular shaped sites have a number of similarities. The sites feature mounded soil that creates ditch like areas. There is a fire pit marked by large amounts of charcoal residue. Broken stones appear to have been heated and used to warm water. Carbon dating indicates some of the sites date to 1500 B.C. and were used for hundreds of years.
Archaeologists and historians have long debated the use of these site. Some think they are some type of communal cooking venues. Others suggest they could be bathing pits or crude steam baths. Now two Irish researchers claim they have discovered the true use for the sites: ancient breweries.
Billy Quinn and Declan Moore believe Bronze Age man was a fan of beer. The pair recently recreated what they believe took place at the sites. Quinn and Moore brewed for three hours and then waited three days for their ale to ferment.
The experiment is covered in an article in the next issue of Archaeology Ireland. If true, the research finding would explain one of the most common ancient sites in Ireland, where 4,500 Fulacht Fiadh have been documented.