You never know what is lying just below the surface. Sometimes, things may be discovered that really change how we look at history, and at other times, there are things that have yet to be discovered.

In Lagash, Iraq, archaeologists recently uncovered something amazing. That ancient city holds a lot of secrets, and teams from both Italy and the United States were able to find the remains of a tavern.

Photo: Flickr/David Stanley License: CC BY 2.0

One of the most interesting things about this tavern is that it was only 19 inches below the ground’s surface. It is also some 5000 years old, so it may just be the oldest pub ever to be found.

According to a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and a director of the project, Holly Pittman, it is similar to a public meeting space from around 2700 BCE. She described it as being “partially open air, partially kitchen area.”

In speaking with the Washington Post, Pittman said it is the oldest public eatery they know of to be found in southern Mesopotamia.

Photo: Flickr/Brad Flickinger License: CC BY 2.0

In its heyday, the city of Lagash was home to about 50,000 people. It was both the capital of the area and a cultural and religious center.

With the archaeology taking place in the area, it was also found that it was a manufacturing center that produced a wide variety of items, many made of ceramic.

Included in the finds were an industrial-sized oven, an ancient refrigerator that used moisture wicking, and a number of conical bowls. The oven, however, really caught one archaeologist’s attention.

Photo: Flickr/Internet Archive Book Images

Reed Goodman, also from the University of Pennsylvania, spoke to CNN, saying: “I think the first feature to show itself was this very large oven and it’s actually beautiful. From various burning episodes and deposits of ash it left a sort of rainbow coloration in the soils and the interior is framed by these big bricks.”

They feel that the courtyard was an outdoor dining area, as there were many fish remains in the bowls. They are still trying to determine, using lipid analysis, what was in the jars and bowls.

Pittman describes it as a “kind of a McDonald’s with prepared food for fast service.” It’s interesting to see how people lived so many years ago. Maybe they didn’t have the golden arches, but they did gather together to enjoy food and drink and they may have done it fast food style.

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