It turns out that archaeological evidence suggests that the Dawn of Civilization was actually more like the Hungover Noon of Civilization:
May beer have helped lead to the rise of civilization? It’s a possibility, some archaeologists say.
Their argument is that Stone Age farmers were domesticating cereals not so much to fill their stomachs but to lighten their heads, by turning the grains into beer. That has been their take for more than 50 years, and now one archaeologist says the evidence is getting stronger.
Signs that people went to great lengths to obtain grains despite the hard work needed to make them edible, plus the knowledge that feasts were important community-building gatherings, support the idea that cereal grains were being turned into beer, said archaeologist Brian Hayden at Simon Fraser University in Canada.
I like permanent settlements, domesticated animals, codified laws, and written language as much as the next guy, but I find it gratifying somehow that we’re basically where we are today because of a series of ancient keggers.