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Original article:

Ronan McGreevy Thu, Mar 22, 2018

Irishtimes.com

Note: Not much in the way of food-stuffs mentioned, but there was an oven discovered so with more excavation…hope they find seeds or pottery made for cooking.

Terrace of houses from 11th century reveals treasure trove of  artifacts.

 

An archaeologist has described the discovery of a well-preserved Viking-era terrace in Dublin as an “extraordinary find”.

The four adjacent Hiberno-Norse properties with gardens and cobbled stones dating from the around the 11th century were found during excavations for a hotel development in Dublin.

The site in Dean Street is owned by the Hodson Bay Group who plan to open a 234-room hotel in the Coombe area next year.

Further excavations found two other settlements from a later period. One dating from the 13th to the 14th century had evidence of industrial activity including a tanning pit and two lime pits.

Vaulted cellars

The upper level dating from the 17th century revealed ovens, vaulted cellars, kilns and cobbled working areas.

The site has been waterlogged for almost the last millennium. As a consequence organic material, including leather shoes and wooden utensils, have been very well preserved.

Archeologist Aisling Collins, whose team made the find, said they were lucky to make such a discovery.

“It’s incredible. You could work on a site like this all your life and never find anything like this. It’s that significant. The artefacts we have found are very unique,” she said.

Among the objects found in the excavations were a copper alloy, decorated stick pin, a 12th century copper alloy key and worked bone objects. Shards of pottery were found in several locations.

The most significant find was a rare example of graffiti art carved onto a piece of slate depicting a figure on a horse with a shield, sword and two birds present. The slate was found to the rear of one of the houses which was made from wattle.

Industrial activity

There was evidence of industrial activity with the presence of a tanning pit, lots of animal horn and two lime pits.

To the north of the site was a stone built medieval well with steps leading down to the water. There were two medieval wall foundations also present.

Another layer led to the discovery of a copper alloy merchant’s weighing scales, a 13th-14th silver King Edward coin and medieval pottery – mostly local and some imported. Medieval floor tiles were discovered with very unusual ceramic bird that looks like a dove.

Hudson Bay director Johnny O’Sullivan said the company intends to incorporate elements of the discovery into the design of the hotel and to keep a section of the site for preservation.

“So many corporate hotels are bland, but we are delighted to have such a compelling story to tell,” he said.

The site has been cleared and the artefacts are now in storage. They will eventually be given to the National Museum of Ireland for cataloguing and preserving.

 

 

 

 

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A Takarkori rock shelter. University of Huddersfield

 

Original article:

Popular-archaeology.com

 

UNIVERSITY OF HUDDERSFIELD—By analyzing a prehistoric site in the Libyan desert, a team of researchers from the universities of Huddersfield, Rome and Modena & Reggio Emilia has been able to establish that people in Saharan Africa were cultivating and storing wild cereals 10,000 years ago. In addition to revelations about early agricultural practices, there could be a lesson for the future, if global warming leads to a necessity for alternative crops.

The importance of the find came together through a well-established official collaboration between the University of Huddersfield and the University of Modena & Reggio Emilia.

The team has been investigating findings from an ancient rock shelter at a site named Takarkori in south-western Libya. It is desert now, but earlier in the Holocene age[our present age], some 10,000 years ago, it was part of the “green Sahara” and wild cereals grew there. More than 200,000 seeds – in small circular concentrations – were discovered at Takarkori, which showed that hunter-gatherers developed an early form of agriculture by harvesting and storing crops.

But an alternative possibility was that ants, which are capable of moving seeds, had been responsible for the concentrations. Dr Stefano Vanin, the University of Huddersfield’s Reader in Forensic Biology and a leading entomologist in the forensic and archaeological fields, analyzed a large number of samples, now stored at the University of Modena & Reggio Emilia. His observations enabled him to demonstrate that insects were not responsible and this supports the hypothesis of human activity in collection and storage of the seeds.

The investigation at Takarkori provides the first-known evidence of storage and cultivation of cereal seeds in Africa. The site has yielded other key discoveries, including the vestiges of a basket, woven from roots, that could have been used to gather the seeds. Also, chemical analysis of pottery from the site demonstrates that cereal soup and cheese were being produced.

A new article that describes the latest findings and the lessons to be learned appears in the journal Nature Plants. Titled Plant behaviour from human imprints and the cultivation of wild cereals in Holocene Sahara, it is co-authored by Anna Maria Mercuri, Rita Fornaciari, Marina Gallinaro, Savino di Lernia and Dr Vanin.

One of the article’s conclusions is that although the wild cereals, harvested by the people of the Holocene Sahara, are defined as “weeds” in modern agricultural terms, they could be an important food of the future.

“The same behavior that allowed these plants to survive in a changing environment in a remote past makes them some of the most likely possible candidates as staple resources in a coming future of global warming. They continue to be successfully exploited and cultivated in Africa today and are attracting the interest of scientists searching for new food resources,” state the authors.

Research based on the findings at Takarkori continues. Dr Vanin is supervising PhD student Jennifer Pradelli – one of a cohort of doctoral candidates at the University of Huddersfield funded by a £1 million award from the Leverhulme Trust – and she is analyzing insect evidence in order to learn more about the evolution of animal breeding at the site.

 

(GERMANY OUT) Klosterhäseler (Photo by Schellhorn/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

 

Original article:

Food and wine.com

Cornell University is working on ways to help supply meet demand.
JILLIAN KRAMER July 21, 2017

It turns out America’s taste for grains is reach far beyond white and wheat flour. A recent shift toward alternatives to traditional grains has opened up our interest in exotic and ancient grains, helping to land emmer and einkorn on our plates.
According to marketing and economic analyses by Cornell University researchers, demand for specialty grains—grains that reach beyond wheat, rye, barely, and even quinoa—is so strong it’s led restaurants across the country to work them onto their menus. And patrons, the researchers found, are more than willing to pay a higher price for these ancient grains.
The university names Gramercy Tavern in Manhattan as prime example of a restaurant that is embracing consumer demand. In the past, that restaurant’s rotating menu has included items such as “roasted beets and kale salad with einkorn and candied pistachio,” while national chains, such as Brio, is working farro—or emmer—onto their everyday menus. Next up, Gramercy Tavern says it will source an ancient spring emmer that can be ground and used to make pasta. Funnily enough, its manager, Jenny Jones, worked on Cornell’s project.

Consumer tastes are changing,” according to Mark Sorrells, who led a Cornell University project investigating which ancient and heritage wheat varieties are most adapted for Northeastern and north-central climates. “They are interested in local and flavorful food products, and farmers are looking for value-added crops to sell for higher prices.” Heck, even Cheerios is getting in on the ancient grains action.
But going to forward-thinking restaurants and cereal companies aren’t the only way to get your hands (or mouth) on ancient grains. Farmers markets are also embracing the trend. “Every year, we’ve seen things grow exponentially,” June Russell, the manager of farm inspections and strategic development at New York City’s Greenmarket, told the university. “Demand is building, and that’s helping to drive more acres getting planted and some infrastructure development.” At Greenmarket 14 different kinds of wheat, plus emmer and einkorn are available today.
To help those suppliers meet the demand, part of Cornell’s project is identifying and cultivating anvient and heirloom grains that can be grown in America’s heartland. Which means, yes, even more eateries (and breakfast cereal companies) will be able to experiment with these everything-old-is-new-again ingredients.

 

 

 

 

 

This one is on figs…my favorite

Minoan Linear A, Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae

Linear A tablet HT 88 (Haghia Triada) dealing with figs with Mycenaean superstrate vocabulary:

HT 88 kikina-01 datare figs

Linear A tablet HT 88 figsThe partial decipherment of this Linear A tablet HT 88 (Haghia Triada) has until now eluded me. However, upon close examination of several words on the tablet, namely, ADU, KIKINA, KIRO, KATI, DATARE and KURO, I discovered that all of them are susceptible to interpretation as Mycenaean superstrate words. Their translations are given on the tablet as illustrated above. As for the words KUPA3NU, PAJARE and SAMARO, these all appear to be Old Minoan (OM), i.e. belonging to the Minoan substrate language, i.e. the original Minoan language. Unfortunately, since no one has yet successfully deciphered the Minoan language (= Old Minoan/OM) per se, I cannot decipher these words. But they obviously are crop-related words having something specific to do with sweet liquor, wine, figs and dates.

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Original Article:

Ruth Schuster Mar 21, 2018

Haaretz.com

Compelling archaeological evidence shows that the Neolithic people of Boncuklu developed farming by themselves, not from migrants, but their neighbors in Pinarbasi would have none of it

Remains of a Neolithic home in Boncuklu, Turkey, some 10,000 years ago. Prof. Douglas Baird

When humans figured out how to farm food rather than spear or collect it is fiercely debated. So is how agricultural knowledge spread. Now a paper published this week suggests that hunter-gatherers on the Anatolian plateau in Turkey started farming 10,000 years ago by learning from the neighbors rather than from, say, migrants swarming in with hoes in hand.

Until now farming had been assumed to have spread through migration, explains the paper published this week in the U.S. journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. But evidently there were villages that rejected the newfangled sow-and-grow techniques.

Let’s start with the village of hunter-gatherers called Boncuklu. It and similar communities initiated (started) farming in central Anatolia some 10,000 years ago by adopting crops from areas to their south and east, Prof. Douglas Baird of the University of Liverpool tells Haaretz.

At Boncuklu, the researchers found stone tools different from the Levantine style. They also found burned seeds and remains of wheat chaff – and they found weeds known to have plagued early farming sites.

The abundance of the opportunistic pests suggests they flourished as the ancients cultivated their crops. Similar evidence of proto-weeds was used in Israel to demonstrate early cultivation as much as 23,000 years ago near the Kinneret – the Sea of Galilee.

The Anatolian plateau folk seem also to have begun adopting the sheep and more commonly, the goat, the archaeologists deduced from analysis of bones. This seems to be closer to when livestock were domesticated – though each species was evidently domesticated at somewhat different times in different places.

Baird agrees with the consensus that cultivation of plants began in the Fertile Crescent, including the Levant and northern Mesopotamia, and the Zagros Mountains of today’s Iran. Only later would it reach  

central Turkey, he says, though adds: “Animal herding may well be a rather different situation.”

The clue of the nonexistent villages

The evidence that farming wasn’t brought to central Anatolia by migrants but developed among the indigenous population relies on analysis of stone tools and DNA, Baird explains.

Boncuklu is just one of several central Anatolian sites that have undergone archaeological exploration and analysis. All had the same indigenous material culture, especially stone tools, and were clearly part of a local tradition extending back 5,000 years earlier, Baird says.

This central Anatolian material culture is not at all like that of the early farming communities in northern Syria or southeast Turkey.

Also, if farmers had migrated to the plateau and colonized it, their remains likely would have turned up in the future. “Since we are largely talking settled village communities, you would expect to see their sites in the archaeological record, exactly as we do see with the colonization of Cyprus in the early Neolithic,” Baird says.

Which brings us to genetics. “In addition, the ancient DNA evidence now clearly shows that there is a distinctive local gene pool in the early Neolithic at places like Boncuklu, different from the genetics of Levantine Neolithic populations,” he says.

Moreover, this hunter-gatherer-turned-farming population would live on. The team discovered that the Neolithic Anatolian gene pool contributed substantially to later Neolithic populations in central and western Anatolia and indeed to the first farmers of southeast Europe, Baird says. “So I think we can say that there weren’t lots of Levantine migrants running around in central Anatolia at the beginnings of the Neolithic there,” he adds.

Signs of prehistoric ‘trade’

So in short, weeds and wheat suggest the good burghers of Bocuklu, who lived in mud-brick homes, may have still subsisted mainly from hunting and gathering, but were starting to farm 10,000 years ago. And analysis of stone tools and genetics suggests these people picked up the knack rather than had the knowledge imported from even earlier farmers in the Fertile Crescent.

Farming know-how may have come with prehistoric “trading” – the exchange of materials, artifacts and even possibly people. Trading brides seems to have been not rare, from antiquity to this day.

“We have evidence, for example, of obsidian moving from central Anatolia to the Levant being exchanged between communities, and Mediterranean seashells used as beads coming from the south coast of Turkey onto the Anatolian plateau,” Baird says. “We are potentially talking about something akin to trade but without the mercantile/commercial associations of the term. Exchange may have been as much about building social relationships as it was about acquiring materials.”

Still, we can’t even guess how close the communities from which agriculture spread to central Anatolia may have been; our knowledge of early prehistoric sites in these areas is scanty, Baird says.

One unexpected deduction is that the people of central Anatolia seem to have found this lifestyle convenient.

“Unexpectedly, this low-level food production persisted for at least five centuries. Archaeologists usually consider these kinds of food-production systems to be short-lived and transitional, but our research suggests a stable and persistent use of crops and herd animals as a minor part of the economy for a long time. This does not fit existing theory,” says Andrew Fairbairn, the project’s co-director and an associate professor at the University of Queensland.

Farming is for little people?

Fun fact: Just 30 kilometers from Boncuklu lay the contemporary prehistoric hamlet of Pinarbasi, which Baird excavated in 2003 and 2004. The Pinarbasis would have none of this farming frippery, it seems.

“Evidence suggests these communities resisted the adoption of farming and maintained a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, showing the spread of agriculture beyond the Fertile Crescent was neither uniform nor inevitable,” the team wrote.

What? No evidence of farming was found at Pinarbasi. “They must have known about it but decided not to adopt it,” Baird says.

That may not have been a good choice. Boncuklu seems to have survived at least 500 years after Pinarbasi, Baird adds – and its people may be with us to this very day.

“We think that at least elements of the Boncuklu community continued to exist in the region, contributing population to the large site at Catalhoyuk, which is only 10 kilometers away, that follows on immediately after Boncuklu is abandoned,” he says. “People at Catalhoyuk have a lot of domestic and ritual practices very similar to those we see at Boncuklu.”

How many people are we talking about, anyway? Boncuklu and Pinarbasi each probably had between 50 to 150 people at any one time, though obviously it would have varied, Baird notes. And one group seems to have survived, while one may not have.

In other words, while the desultory farming taking place in early Boncuklu was not a major economic activity, it was a local development and may have had enormous consequences for posterity.

The research was conducted by an international team led by Baird and Fairburn with Assistant Professor Gokhan Mustafaoglu and included researchers from Bournemouth University, University College London, the University of Reading, Cornell University, Middle Eastern Technical University Ankara, Trakya University, Bulent Ecevit University Zonguldak, Peking University and Harvard University, as well as the universities of Liverpool and Queensland.

 

Another great find.I just had to reblog..Thanks

Minoan Linear A, Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae

Linear A tablet ZA 8, another Linear A largely inscribed in proto-Greek and/or Mycenaean Greek, groats, figs and wheat dough:

Linear A tablet ZA 8 ZakrosThe context of this tablet makes it quite clear that we are dealing with an inscription largely inscribed in proto-Greek and/or Mycenaean Greek. The free translation reads as follows:

the brim (of a vessel or pot), with groats inside it + 1 1/2 units of figs * (not in the pot!) in a slanting) urn OR 2/3rds of a unit of liquid measurement (of the figs) + 2/5 salty units (something like milligrams) of wheat dough + 1/2 mapa (unknown) ** + 2 1/4 maikase (unknown) ** + 2 1/2 daipita ** + 4 2/5 due measures.

* The supersyllabogram NI, which means figs, is almost certainly nira or nita in Linear A. The word nita occurs in the Linear A lexicon.

** mapa, maikasa and daipita are almost certainly…

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hArchaeological Service of the Canton of Bern

Original article:

Food and wine.com

How and when wheat and other grains became domesticated has long been a mystery.
JILLIAN KRAMER July 28, 2017

It’s not exactly difficult to get grains these days. You can add them to your cart at the grocery store and have oats, cereal, or rice in your house in just a matter of minutes. It wasn’t always that easy; the domestication of wheat-bearing plants was a huge and somewhat mysterious step for the human race. And thanks to a discovery by a team of archeologists, we’re starting to understand just when and where the exploitation (which is to say, human cultivation and use) of some grains occurred.
Archeologists from the University of York set out to the Swiss Alps on a dig, where they discovered a Bronze Age wooden container lodged in an ice patch some 8,600 feet up a mountain. Thinking the container was for some kind of porridge, the team was surprised to find lipid-based biomarkers for whole wheat or rye grain—called alkylresorcinols—in place of the milk residue they had expected to find. But that residue, they say, could help other archeologists trace the development of early grain farming in Eurasia

Here’s why this discovery is such a big deal: plants are all-but-impossible to find in archeological deposits because they degrade so quickly. A deposit like this one, the archeologists say, is really the first of its kind to be found and recorded.

“This is an extraordinary discovery, if you consider that of all domesticated plants, wheat is the most widely grown crop in the world,” University of York archeologist André Colonese said in a statement, “and the most important food grain source for humans, lying at the core of many contemporary culinary traditions.” Next, Colonese said, the team will search for lipid-based grain biomarkers in ceramic artifacts.
In the meantime, here’s what the discovery already tells the team: “Strong evidence that cereals were being transported across this [Swiss] alpine pass,” Jessica Hendy, from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, said in a statement.

As they make additional, similar discoveries, the archeologists should also be able to glean “when and where this food crop spread through Europe,” Hendy said

 

 

 

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