of Granada, Santiago de Compostela and Reading (UK) have studied human skeletal remains from the Cova do Santo collective burial cave in northwestern Spain
Remains found in the Sil river valley–in the province of Ourense–reveal a vegetable-based diet with little meat or fish content
Research undertaken by the universities of Granada, Santiago de Compostela and Reading (UK) has shed new light on Bronze Age man’s diet and the arrival of new crops in the Iberian Peninsula at that time.
The research–published in the Journal of Archaeological Science–studies human remains from the collective burial site at Cova do Santo in the Sil river valley, in the northwestern Spanish province of Ourense.
The cave held the remains of at least 14 individuals of both sexes, including children. Given the unstable condition of the burial cavity, the researchers could stay inside for just a few hours. Consequently, they only collected remains off the surface of the cave floor.
Subsequent analysis of stable isotopes in the bone collagen remains revealed that the Cova do Santo inhabitants ate a vegetable-based diet with little meat or fish content despite the site being close to the river Sil.
“There are no significant differences between individuals in terms of diet, so access to food resources must have been similar, regardless of sex or age,” says Olalla López-Costas, lead author of the study.
The researchers found no signs of millets or of millet consumption which means they cannot confirm millets were a part of Bronze Age man’s diet in northwestern Iberia. “We have compared our findings with publications on other sites and believe there are reasonable grounds for believing that summer crops could have been consumed in central Iberia earlier than previously believed,” says López-Costas.
These crops, called summer or spring crops and most commonly represented by millets, “give a high yield in a short time, which probably helped people become more sedentary and the excess of production could have contributed to the construction of a social hierarchy”.
However, it’s still difficult to say when millets were first introduced into the Iberian diet. Until recently, it was believed to have occurred in the Late Bronze Age but recent discoveries of seeds at archaeological sites seem to indicate that it could have been earlier.
Prehistoric burial caves are relatively common in northern and western Iberia. However, very few physical anthropology studies–like that described here–have been conducted. In terms of the number of burials, this would seem to be the largest prehistoric site in the northwest of thePeninsula. The remains found here have been dated at between 1800 and 1600 BC.
Read Full Post »
Such a find, and a dinner invitation as well. From the mention of Serapis ( incorrectly spelled Sarapis, either by the author or mis read from the papyri ), this would date from the Greek period.
Read Full Post »
US Army sun cream and tins of bacon are among the finds on Salisbury Plain revealed by archaeologists, to mark US Independence Day.
Wessex Archaeology, based on the plain, said various US-issued provisions had been found in recent years.
Among the finds were tins of cooking oil, bottles of sauce and “even what appeared to be a block of lard”.
A group spokeswoman said: “The state of preservation of the provisions shows how well made they were.”
The Wiltshire plain has been used as a training ground by the British military since the early 20th Century.
It also provided a training area for US troops preparing for the invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe during World War Two.
“The military has been on Salisbury Plain for decades so it’s not been ploughed up or disturbed by developers,” said Matt Leivers, from Wessex Archaeology.
Among the other finds unearthed on the plain were spoons and plates and bottles of Camp coffee.
Speaking about the “cream sunburn preventive”, which is labelled for use in “hot or cold climates”, a Wessex Archaeology spokesman said: “It was a rare hoard of 16 tins of US Army sun cream – still with the contents intact.
“It’s evidence of US military presence on Salisbury Plain and the surrounding area.
“Sadly, there were no contents left in the tins of sliced bacon.”
The finds have been transferred to the Salisbury Museum.
Read Full Post »
Archaeologists found food from between 800-1000 BC in a set of pots, textiles and other material at a Cambridgeshire settlement destroyed by fire during the Bronze Age© Cambridge Archaeological Unit
An “extraordinary testimony” to the lives of prosperous people in Bronze Age Britain could lie under the soil of a 1,100-square metre site destroyed in a fire 3,000 years ago, say archaeologists who are about to start digging within a brick pit near Peterborough.
Must Farm – part of the Flag Fen Basin, and the site where nine pristine log boats were famously unearthed in 2011 – was protected by a ring of wooden posts before a dramatic fire at the end of the Bronze Age caused the dwelling to collapse into the river.
Its submergence preserved its contents, creating what experts are describing as a “time capsule” of “exceptional” decorated tiles made from lime tree bark.
Rare small pots, jars complete with the remains of hastily-abandoned meals and “sophisticated” exotic glass beads are expected to provide a complete picture of prehistoric life during the nine-month excavation, which is part of a four-year, £1.1 million project at the site.
“We think those living in the settlement were forced to leave everything behind when it caught on fire,” says Kasia Gdaniec, Cambridgeshire County Council’s Senior Archaeologist.
“An extraordinarily rich range of goods and objects are present in the river deposits, some of which were found during an evaluation in 2006.
A Late Iron Age baldric ring with La Tène style decoration, probably part of a shoulder belt for carrying a sword, found in the peat which formed in the Must Farm palaeochannel when then the watercourse became entirely choked by sediment at the end of the first millennium BC© Cambridge Archaeological Unit
“Among the items was a charred pot with vitrified food inside it and a partially charred spoon, suggesting that the site had been abandoned quickly.
“We anticipate that more of the timber structure, a range of organic remains and fishing equipment and the whole gamut of personal, work and settlement paraphernalia will be found.
“But we are hoping not to find remains of people that may have suffered the impact of the fire, though this possibility cannot be ruled out.
The mass of preserved timbers were originall discovered during an excavation in 2006© Cambridge Archaeological Unit
“It’s an exciting excavation. The finds are well preserved due to the waterlogged sediments within this former river channel.”
The footprints of the settlement’s former residents still stand, although more discoveries are not expected to emerge until late summer.
“Usually at a Later Bronze Age period site you get pits, post-holes and maybe one or two really exciting metal finds,” says David Gibson, the Archaeological Manager at the Cambridge Archaeological Unit.
“Convincing people that such places were once thriving settlements takes some imagination. But this time so much more has been preserved.
“It’s a fantastic chance to find out how people in the Late Bronze Age lived their daily lives, including how they dressed and what meals they ate.”
The location of the site, at the edge of the quarry, meant attempts to preserve it in situ after it was discovered in 2006 proved unviable as a long-term historic record.
“The combination of sudden abandonment followed by exceptional preservation means that there is a real possibility of further exciting discoveries,” says Duncan Wilson, of Historic England.
“This could represent a moment of time from the Late Bronze Age comparable to the connection with the past made by the objects found with the Mary Rose.
“This site is internationally important and gives a fascinating insight into the lives of our ancestors.”
A rapier and sword were found at the clay quarry, now run by a building company, in 1969. The new discoveries will be displayed at Peterborough Museum and other local venues.
Read Full Post »