May 27, 2020

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Study sheds light on unique culinary traditions of prehistoric hunter-gatherers

Image: Pottery fragments located at the Havnø kitchen area midden, Northern Denmark.
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Credit history: Harry Robson, College of York

Hunter-gatherer teams residing in the Baltic concerning seven and a 50 percent and six thousand a long time in the past experienced culturally distinct cuisines, analysis of ancient pottery fragments has discovered.

An intercontinental crew of scientists analysed in excess of five hundred hunter-gatherer vessels from sixty one archaeological web pages all through the Baltic location.

They located hanging contrasts in food items choices and culinary techniques concerning various teams – even in locations in which there was a very similar availability of resources. Pots were being made use of for storing and planning foodstuff ranging from marine fish, seal and beaver to wild boar, bear, deer, freshwater fish hazelnuts and plants.

The findings counsel that the culinary preferences of ancient people today were being not only dictated by the foodstuff accessible in a specific region, but also influenced by the traditions and habits of cultural teams, the authors of the research say.

A lead writer of the research, Dr Harry Robson from the Office of Archaeology at the College of York, mentioned: “People are usually amazed to understand that hunter-gatherers made use of pottery to retail outlet, process and cook food items, as carrying cumbersome ceramic vessels appears inconsistent with a nomadic everyday living-style.

“Our research looked at how this pottery was made use of and located evidence of a abundant selection of foodstuff and culinary traditions in various hunter-gatherer teams.”

The scientists also determined unanticipated evidence of dairy products and solutions in some of the pottery vessels, suggesting that some hunter-gatherer teams were being interacting with early farmers to obtain this resource.

Dr Robson extra: “The existence of dairy fat in numerous hunter-gatherer vessels was an unanticipated instance of culinary ‘cultural fusion’. The discovery has implications for our comprehension of the changeover from hunter-gatherer existence to early farming and demonstrates that this commodity was either exchanged or maybe even looted from nearby farmers.”

Lead writer of the research, Dr Blandine Courel from the British Museum, extra: “Inspite of a frequent biota that provided loads of marine and terrestrial resources for their livelihoods, hunter-gatherer communities all around the Baltic Sea basin did not use pottery for the similar reason.

“Our research implies that culinary techniques were being not influenced by environmental constraints but rather were being probable embedded in some prolonged-standing culinary traditions and cultural habits.”

The research, led by the Office of Scientific Investigate at the British Museum, the College of York and the Centre for Baltic and Scandinavian Archaeology (Stiftung Schleswig-Holsteinische Landesmuseen, Germany), made use of molecular and isotopic procedures to analyse the fragments of pottery.

Senior writer, Professor Oliver Craig from the Office of Archaeology at the College of York, mentioned: “Chemical analysis of the remains of foodstuff and pure products and solutions well prepared in pottery has previously revolutionized our comprehension of early agricultural societies, we are now looking at these methods currently being rolled out to research prehistoric hunter-gatherer pottery. The outcomes counsel that they way too experienced complex and culturally distinct cuisines.”

Natural and organic residue analysis demonstrates sub-regional designs in the use of pottery by Northern European hunter-gatherers is posted in Royal Culture Open Science. The exploration was funded by the European Investigate Council through a grant awarded to the British Museum.

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