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Archive for November, 2014

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From my house to yours, Happy Thanksgiving, even if it’s not your holiday!
Here is a link to information on the first Thanksgiving from food timeline.

foodtimeline.org

Thanks also to all of you who follow my blog,it’s nice to share with you news on a topic I love.

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The Archaeology News Network: Latrines, sewers show varied ancient Roman diet.

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Finding a cache of 2200-year-old coins buried in the remains of an Egyptian house sparked honours student Liesel Gentelli’s interest in coins, inspiring her to pursue postgraduate studies in forensics.

Ms Gentelli is one of two UWA archaeologists invited to excavate Tell Timai, the remains of the Greco-Roman town of Thmuis in Egypt.

A tell is a large mound formed by the remains of an abandoned town or city, and Thmuis was a port on a former Nile delta channel which has since silted up.

She says the coins she discovered during the dig were probably votive offerings placed under the building’s foundation to bring prosperity to its inhabitants.

The cache included 13 individual coins from the reigns of Ptolemy II, III and IV, making the building no older than 221 BCE.

The University of Hawaii invited Ms Gentelli and UWA archaeologist Sean Winter to participate in digs at the tell, which is threatened by encroaching developments.

Dr Winter was part of a small international team working at another part of the 91ha site which appears to have been a large open-sided shed.

He says they found an unusually large number of baker’s ovens for Egypt at that point in time, indicating the building may have been an industrial-scale bakery or perhaps a tavern.

“Nowhere in the published literature can we find an equivalent number of ovens in the same place,” he says.

They used the remains of ceramics, coins and charcoal to date the building to between 100 BCE and perhaps 10 CE.

Of particular interest is the former building’s rubbish pit, from which they identified mammal, bird, fish and mollusc remains.

Together with remains of amphorae—large stone urns used to transport fish sauce, wine, oil and the like—they built up a complex picture of Thmouis people’s dietary options and sources.

He says oysters, for example, swam up the Nile from the Mediterranean.

The researchers inferred this by comparing the oysters shellfish assemblage with others, including specimens from the former Red Sea port of Berenike.

“At that site all the shellfish were derived locally and comprised species that came from the Red Sea,” he says.

“In contrast all of the shellfish that we can identify in our assemblage comprise species native to the Mediterranean.”

He has written a paper, “Food Consumption During the First Century BCE at Thmouis” with co-authors Colleen Westmor and Courtney Bobik, which is due to be published next year.
Explore further: Haunting tales in ship-wrecked silver

More information: Winter, S., Westmor, C. & Bobik, C. (In-press). “Food Consumption During the First Century BCE at Thmouis.” In Pinarello, M., Woo, J., Lundock , J. & Walsh, C. (eds.) Current Research in Egyptology 15. Oxbow.

Original article:
phys.org

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in Temanggung regency, Central Java, has again proven its position as home to one of main archeological findings in Indonesia after archeologists from the Yogyakarta Archeology Agency found the fossilized remnants of staple foods, comprising maize and rice, still inside a bamboo basket at the site.

The archeologists said the finding indicated that Indonesia had long been part of an international agriculture network because maize was not endemic to Java and at the site they had also found many artifacts from other countries, especially China.

Head of the Yogyakarta Archeology Agency, Siswanto, said the findings proved that agricultural produce had been one of the primary commodities traded between Indonesia and its trade partners.

“The finding is also crucial to help us trace the history of food cultivation and technology in Indonesia, especially in Java,” said Siswanto, who spoke during the opening of the 2014 General Soedirman University (Unsoed) Fair in Purwokerto, recently.

During the excavation, the archeologists reportedly found fossilized maize and grains of rice in Liyangan, Purbosari village, Ngadirejo district, which is located 7.5 kilometers from the peak of Mt. Sindoro.

It was believed that the fossilized staple food grew between the eighth and tenth centuries, during the era of the ancient Mataram kingdom.

Siswanto said the excavation took place on a plot of land approximately one hectare in size. At the location, the archeologists also unearthed a temple and 40 ancient Chinese vases dating back to the Tang Dynasty.

Liyangan is a residential settlement in Temanggung at which archeologists had previously found many important archeological objects.

An earlier team of archeologists had also found fossilized grains of rice, indicating that food security in Java was well-managed during that time. (tah/ebf)(++++)

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thejakartapost.com

Agus Maryono
The Jakarta Post, Temanggung | October 29 2014 | 8:31 PM

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Just perfect for ancient foods.

British Museum blog

Malcolm McNeill, project researcher and doctoral candidate, SOAS, University of London

In the book accompanying the BP exhibition Ming: 50 years that changed China, curator Jessica Harrison-Hall’s chapter ‘Courts: palaces, people and objects’ vividly evokes the sumptuous banquets of the Ming elite. A Timurid embassy’s account of a feast held in a meadow on 20 August 1420 treats us to an enticing description of geese, roast fowl, and dried and fresh fruits, all artfully arranged to impress these Central Asian dignitaries. The alfresco fine dining experience was accompanied by courtly pageantry. Beautiful cross-dressed male performers danced for the envoys, while entertainers in papier-mâché animal masks moved like wild beasts. These same Central Asians tell us that the Yongle emperor (reigned 1403?1422), the warrior, dined on a multitude of meats in a single sitting and had a penchant for yellow wine made from grain or rice (huang jiu)…

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Epic pre-Columbian voyage suggested by genes

Wooden canoes like this one from Easter Island may have brought Native Americans and Polynesians together.
Polynesians from Easter Island and natives of South America met and mingled long before Europeans voyaged the Pacific, according to a new genetic study of living Easter Islanders. In this week’s issue of Current Biology, researchers argue that the genes point to contact between Native Americans and Easter Islanders before 1500 C.E., 3 centuries after Polynesians settled the island also known as Rapa Nui, famous for its massive stone statues. Although circumstantial evidence had hinted at such contact, this is the first direct human genetic evidence for it.

In the genomes of 27 living Rapa Nui islanders, the team found dashes of European and Native American genetic patterns. The European genetic material made up 16% of the genomes; it was relatively intact and was unevenly spread among the Rapa Nui population, suggesting that genetic recombination, which breaks up segments of DNA, has not been at work for long. Europeans may have introduced their genes in the 19th century, when they settled on the island.

Native American DNA accounted for about 8% of the genomes. Islanders enslaved by Europeans in the 19th century and sent to work in South America could have carried some Native American genes back home, but this genetic legacy appeared much older. The segments were more broken and widely scattered, suggesting a much earlier encounter—between 1300 C.E. and 1500 C.E.

But did Polynesians land on South American beaches, or did Native Americans sail 3500 kilometers into the Pacific to reach Rapa Nui? “Our studies strongly suggest that Native Americans most probably arrived [on Rapa Nui] shortly after the Polynesians,” says team member Erik Thorsby, an immunologist at the University of Oslo. He thinks that could support the controversial theory, posited by Norwegian adventurer Thor Heyerdahl more than a half-century ago, that Native Americans had the skills to move west across the Pacific.

But many scientists say that Pacific currents and Polynesian mastery of the waves make it more likely that the Polynesians were the voyagers. They may have sailed to South America, swapped goods for sweet potatoes and other novelties—and returned to their island with South American women.

Sweet potato was domesticated in the Andean highlands, and researchers recently determined that the crop spread west across Polynesia before Europeans arrived. Another hint of trans-Pacific exchange comes from chicken bones—unknown in the Americas before 1500 C.E.—excavated on a Chilean beach, which some believe predate Christopher Columbus.

Skeptics say that genetic evidence from modern human populations is not enough to prove ancient contact. The genetic clock is often uncertain, says anthropologist Carl Lipo of California State University, Long Beach. “We need ancient DNA from skeletal evidence—not modern evidence—to resolve this question.”

*Clarification, 27 October, 11:50 a.m.: Erik Thorsby is described as supporting the hypothesis that Native Americans voyaged on their own to Easter Island. Thorsby, like most scientists, believes it much more likely that Polynesians brought Native Americans to the island.

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By Andrew Lawler 23 October 2014 12:00 pm 9 Comments

news.sciencemag.org

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Ancient Europeans remained intolerant to lactose for 5,000 years after they adopted agriculture.

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