Times Will Tell

PODCAST: In ancient Israel, a woman’s place was in the home making beer

Through careful analysis of oven placement and grindstones, archaeologist Prof. Jennie Ebeling shows how women in antiquity had much more agency than previously thought

Welcome to Times Will Tell, The Times of Israel’s weekly feature podcast.

This week, host Amanda Borschel-Dan speaks with archaeologist Prof. Jennie Ebeling about women’s live in ancient Israel.

In addition to leading and participating in archaeological excavations in Israel and Jordan, including the Jezreel Expedition, Ebeling is sculpting the next generation of scholars through her teaching at the University of Evansville in Indiana.

She has written extensively about ancient food and drink technology which can offer a deeper look at women in antiquity, including a book, “Women’s Lives in Biblical Times.”

Some of the pottery sherds which were used to isolate strains of thousands of years old yeast to produce new batches of ‘ancient beer,’ on May 22, 2019 in Jerusalem. (Judah Ari Gross/Times of Israel)

Ebeling has edited several books and today she is also an acquisitions editor-at-large for academic publisher Eisenbrauns, an imprint of Penn State University Press that specializes in the ancient Near East and biblical studies.

One of the ways we can learn about women’s agency is through studying ancient ovens, said Ebeling, which in part has led her to hypothesize that women were the master brewers of ancient Israel.

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