Isolation and Characterization of Live Yeast Cells from Ancient Clay Vessels

Tzemach Aouizerat, Aren M. Maeir, Yitzhak Paz, Yuval Gadot, Amir Szitenberg, Sivan Alkalay-Oren, Shunit Coppenhagen-Glazer, Michael Klutstein*, Ronen Hazan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ancient fermented food has been studied mainly based on residue analysis and recipes and reconstruction attempts were performed using modern domesticated yeast. Furthermore, microorganisms which participated in fermentation were studied using ancient-DNA techniques. In a recent paper, we presented a novel approach based on the hypothesis that enriched yeast populations in fermented beverages could have become the dominant species in storage vessels and their descendants could be isolated and studied today. Here we present a pipeline for isolation of yeast from clay vessels uncovered in archeological sites and transferred to the microbiology lab where they can be isolated and characterized. This method opens new avenues for experimental archeology and enables attempts to recreate ancient food and beverages using the original microorganisms.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere3473
Issue number1
StatePublished - 5 Jan 2020


  • Ancient pottery vessels
  • Beverages
  • Bio-archeology
  • Experimental archaeology
  • Fermentation
  • Food
  • Yeast


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