April 2013

In this section in our class, we were able to make use of many materials we made in our previous class when we made the mold for oil lamps and pots for brewing beer. While I’m sure most people are going to discuss the process of making beer, i’m going to focus on the other activities we did.

One of my favorite activities was experimenting with the oil lamps we made. We figured out that in order for the lamps to burn properly, you must add a specific amount of oil. The more oil the better, since we had to insert braided string and soak it thoroughly in order for it to work. Some people had trouble, since they did not put enough oil in their lamp and their fire burned through the string extremely fast. The goal is to get the fire to linger to optimize its usage as a lamp, like they did back then before electricity. I could not imagine living without light bulbs and instead having to rely on such lamps for light.

Another activity that was more artistic, was making our own paint from rocks and painting designs onto the wall (“ancient graffiti”). For this, we needed to hammer or grind down pieces of rock into powder. It turned out either a yellow/brown or dark red. Next, we experimented to see which method worked best: mixing the powder with egg whites or simply using oil. I found that using oil was more effective for me, since my color turned out quite nicely. The person next to me was using egg whites and struggled to find a good consistency to use to paint. Some people even painted with their hands to mimic what people did back when painted art on the walls of caves.


Rachel Latterich

     Recently in class, we learned to make one of the more important things mankind has invented since slice  sliced bread, brewing of beer. On a more serious note, beer was important to ancient civilizations because it could be stored for longer periods of time without going bad in comparison to water so some cultures would frequently drink beer in place of water.  Beer also would have been used during celebrations or feasts as a treat of sorts.  Other ancient cultures allocated their source of beer based on the age of the recipient. For instance, an old man could have 6 beers while a young boy would be given only half a cup full.

                The process of actually brewing the beer involves a decent period of time and some patience. The ingredients involved are the hops, grain, yeast, and water. The first step was to boil the water and  create a grain tea type concoction that is used to extract the sugar from the wheat. After malt extract is added, the yeast is added in and we then pour all this into a large container. The idea in the fermentation process is the yeast eats the sugar and the end product is the alcohol. This is the part of the process that takes a good portion of time hence the patience aspect of brewing as of now we mixed carbon dioxide into the beer in a more modern method so we will be testing our beer this coming week in class.

                 The interesting part about the ancient civilizations discovering this fermentation process is how it could have been discovered. There would have been some water with just the right amount of sugars left out for a time then somebody had to be the one to, accidently or purposefully, try the strange new creation. It amazes me sometimes the things that we take for granted today that had to be discovered somehow thousands of years ago. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but if it led to beer I am not opposed to a little inquisitiveness.

Eddie Krukowski

Last week’s class was thoroughly enjoyable. For one, we started to make beer.

First, we filled an empty water tank to a few gallons strong, then added some sort of soap formula into it. Then we shook it a bit and created a cleaning formula to ensure that the beer was not contaminated during the fermenting process. Then we had an empty water tank and filled it up with water soaked with hops and wheat and whatnot. Some of us tasted it, and it was sweet with a bitterness later down your throat. Beer should taste the same minus the sweetness, as the sugar should be chemically turned into alcoholic content by the end of the process. We then sealed the tank and put it into an area with ice. Now we just have to wait for a couple of weeks to see the final result. Beer is such a common commodity, but how many people that drink it regularly have ever made their own beer? I can imagine ancient humans stumbling across the fermenting process, tasting alcohol for the first time, and hailing it as the greatest invention ever. Thus also were the first drunkards created.


Then we had fun with our oil lamps we made weeks ago by putting them into its first practical test. We added oil into it, tore the nylon out of a string, and put a string through the oil lamp. The theory is that the string would suck the oil, and when it burns it would consume the oil instead of the string. With a few exceptions, that was how it turned out. In a dark room full with ancient oil lamps that illuminated millenniums of human life, the scene was oddly beautiful. We take many things for created and live in a world where everything is created to maximize convenience, but something the world has only gotten more complicated instead of being simplified.




Albert Ho