Merryn Dineley

Merryn Dineley
Independent Scholar

Bachelor of Arts, M. Phil

About

15
Publications
10,298
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36
Citations
Introduction
My work on the archaeological evidence for beer brewing began in 1996. Residues on a Bronze Age food vessel from Strathallan, Scotland indicate a cereal based fermented drink with meadowsweet. Similar residues were found on Neolithic Grooved Ware sherds from Balfarg, Scotland. To make ale, beer and whisky you need malted grain. It's a crucial ingredient. Now I investigate the archaeological evidence for making malt. The craft of the maltster is an ancient one dating back to the Natufian.

Publications

Publications (15)
Article
Full-text available
This is an edited version of my article for the EXARC Journal 2021/2. It considers how malt sugars are made from the grain and discusses a range of ‘mashing in’ techniques from a practical, technical, and scientific point of view. The transformation of grain into malt, malt sugars and ale is a three step process. First, the controlled germination...
Chapter
Full-text available
Floor malting was once known as the ubiquitous craft. There was a maltster in every hamlet, town and village. Today few people know how malt is made. This paper looks at the archaeological evidence for floor malting.
Thesis
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The thesis considers some of the archaeological evidence for making malt and ale in the Neolithic era, from the Fertile Crescent to the British Isles. The experimental work is based upon an understanding of the biochemistry of malting, mashing and fermentation. It was completed in 1999 and published as a British Archaeological Report (International...
Article
Full-text available
For thousands of years malt has been made using the ancient and traditional technique of floor malting. There are several stages, all of which require very specific conditions. Making good malt requires a great deal of skill, experience and knowledge. Floor malting is an ancient craft, going back to the Fertile Crescent. Making specialty roasted ma...
Article
Full-text available
This paper describes the remains of the brewhouse and stone built mash oven at Cubbie Roo's Castle on Wyre, one of the Orkney Islands. Described as 'a stone fort' in the Orkneyinga Saga (Chapter 84) it was built by the Norwegian Kolbein Hruga. The date was around1145. Kolbein Hruga (Cubbie Roo) had several children one of whom was Bishop of Orkne...
Poster
Full-text available
A poster presentation for the Experimental Archaeology Conference. The Vikings are renowned for drinking ale at their feasts and celebrations. Where did they make it? Buildings and facilities that have previously interpreted as ’saunas’ and ’bathhouses’ had all the necessary facilities to have been the brewhouses of the Viking era.
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter is based upon a paper presented at TAG (Theoretical Archaeology Conference) at Southampton University, England in December 2008 in the "Grooved Ware Ten Years On" session. It also refers to my demonstration of mashing in the Iron Age village at the Eindhoven Open Air Archaeology Museum in April 2009. In this paper I assess the archaeol...
Presentation
Full-text available
What is base malt? How is it made today and how was it made in the past? Making malt is a crucial part of the beer brewing process. When crushed malt is heated with water, the enzymes within the germinated grain convert starch into sugars in the mash tun. In this work, the mash tun is an earthenware bowl made by potter Flor Buchuk Gil who worked at...
Presentation
Grain can be ground into flour to make bread, it can be boiled with water to make some sort of porridge or gruel and it can also be malted. Making malt is an aspect of grain processing that has been neglected in archaeological interpretations. This short presentation describes what malt is, how a base malt is made and introduces some of the biochem...
Presentation
Full-text available
A discussion of the possible function of large grooved ware pots as fermentation vessels in the neolithic era. Questioning the assumptions that grain was grown only for flour, porridge or gruel. Grain can also be malted and this transforms the grain, making it possible to make fermentable malt sugars.
Article
Full-text available
Excavations at Durrington Walls near Stonehenge have revealed extensive evidence of feasting. Pots were smashed. Pork and beef were eaten. Some of the excavated floors had food debris from feasting. Others were scrupulously clean. These smooth clean floors would have been suitable for making malt, the essential ingredient for ale and beer. This is...
Chapter
Full-text available
Spent grain is the slightly sweet malted grain that is left in the mash tun after sparging to obtain a wort for fermentation into beer or whisky. It has been used as animal feed for thousands of years, being very nutritious. Today many breweries pass on their spent grain, also known as draff, to local farmers for their cattle and pigs.
Chapter
Full-text available
In the British Isles, around 4000 BC, people began to cultivate and process barley and wheat. Cereals are generally believed to have been a primary source of carbohydrate in the prehistoric diet to make flour, bread or porridge. They are also a potential source of sugar, when processed using the techniques of malting and mashing. This paper describ...
Chapter
Full-text available
This book is the result of a conference held in Orkney1998. As well as the conference there was a Neolithic Fair which took place on Saturday 12th September, at Skara Brae. Several crafts were represented. Andrew Appleby (potter), Arlene Isbister (haematite paint), Patrick Cave Brown (fire making), Peter Leith (simmans), Nick Card and Caroline Wick...
Article
Full-text available
My first published article about making malt and ale from the grain in Neolithic Britain.

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