Ancient food

Ancient food

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Bread

On Monday, archaeologists revealed they had found the earliest known example of bread. The charred remains, just a few millimetres in size, were recovered from a pair of ancient fireplaces in the Black Desert, north-east Jordan. Radiocarbon dating of plant materials within the hearths revealed the fireplaces were used just over 14,000 years ago.

Qvevris, earthenware vessels used for the fermentation and storage of wine.




Qvevris, earthenware vessels used for the fermentation and storage of wine. Photograph: Sohadiszno/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Wine

Last year, researchers at two sites south of the capital, Tbilisi, in Georgia found 8,000-year-old pottery fragments that revealed the earliest evidence of wine. The jars, containing residual wine compounds, sported pictures of grapes and a man dancing. Jugs called qvevri, similar to the ancient ones, are still used for wine-making in present-day Georgia.

Chocolate drink served in a traditional jicara bowl in southern Mexico.



Chocolate drink served in a traditional
jícara bowl in southern Mexico. Photograph: shakzu/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Chocolate

An ancient pottery vessel found by scientists in south-eastern Mexico showed chemical traces of a chocolate beverage made more than 3,500 years ago. The drink, made with toasted and grounded beans and flavoured with hot chilli peppers, was consumed by the Aztecs who conquered the area for its rich crop of cacao trees.

A stove fragment from the site in northern China that was probably used during the beer-brewing process.



A stove fragment from a dig in northern China that was probably used during the beer-brewing process. Photograph: Fulai Xing

Beer

In 2016, archaeologists discovered evidence that beer brewing was being carried out 5,000 years ago in China. Remnants uncovered from wide-mouthed pots and funnels found in two pits dated to around 3400-2900BC suggested that people in the north of the country were following a recipe for ale using broomcorn millet, barley and coix seed.

Ancient popcorn found in Peru.



Ancient popcorn found in Peru. Photograph: Tom Dillehay

Popcorn

An analysis of ancient cornhubs, husks, tassels and stalks unearthed at archaeological sites on Peru’s northern coast suggest that people were preparing corn-based food up to 6,700 years ago. Radiocarbon dating and other tests showed that the oldest cobs had been made into popcorn. They would have been prepared by wrapping them (in an unidentified material), then resting them on coals, roasting them over a flame or cooking them in an earthen oven.



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