The gold and silver tubes above, dating back more than 5,000 years, are likely the world's oldest drinking straws still in existence. The tubes, more than a meter long, were excavated in North Caucasus, Russia back in 1897 and long thought to have been canopy poles for a funeral service or royal scepters. Now though, researchers from the Russian Academy of Sciences argue that the tubes were likely used by groups to sip beer from a shared vessel. From The Guardian:
"If correct, these objects represent the earliest material evidence of drinking through long tubes – a practice that became common during feasts in the third and second millennia BC in the ancient near east," the researchers wrote.
Writing in the journal Antiquity, the team suggest the items are drinking straws "designed for sipping a type of beverage that required filtration during consumption".
Prof Augusta McMahon of the University of Cambridge, who was not involved in the research, said the work was very convincing, adding that the proposed purpose was fancy but functional.
"Beer in the past was probably 'chunky' with sediment, and filter straws were a necessary implement," she said…