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Archaeologists think that pottery artifacts at an ancient winery were used for daily activities by the people who worked there.
Credit: Ministry of Antiquities, Arab Republic of Egypt

By Mindy Weisberger,

Livescience.com

 

Archaeologists recently uncovered ancient storage rooms in a 2,000-year-old winery, at a site in Egypt’s Nile Delta to the north of Cairo.

Inside these rooms — which appeared to be climate-controlled for keeping wine — archaeologists also found coins, pots used in winemaking and other pottery objects, said officials with the Ministry of Antiquities for the Arab Republic of Egypt (MOA), who shared the find in a Facebook post today.

The rooms were linked to a larger winery complex, which had already been partly unearthed during earlier excavations. Based on evidence gathered during this latest dig, experts suspect that there may be additional buildings nearby, which housed the winery’s employees and their supervisors thousands of years ago, according to the Facebook post

The winery was built in what is now the Beheira governorate on Egypt’s northern coast, during the Greco-Roman era — which lasted from the fourth century B.C. to the seventh century A.D., the Associated Press reported. During that time, this region of the Nile Delta was renowned for producing some of the finest wine in Egypt, Ayman Ashmawy, head of ancient Egyptian artifacts at MOA, said on Facebook.

Walls that made up the newfound storage chambers were thick and built from mud bricks; in some places, the walls incorporated limestone slabs of different sizes. This building technique probably helped to cool the chamber and regulate the temperature of the stored wine, Mostafa Waziri, general secretary of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, said on Facebook.

A set of kilns and assorted pottery artifacts associated with daily activities was found alongside coins that spanned centuries: from the time of Ptolemy I Soter, a successor of Alexander the Great who ruled Egypt from 323 B.C. to 285 B.C., to the Islamic conquest from A.D. 639 to A.D. 646, MOA reported.

Archaeologists also found painted shards that may have once covered a building’s walls, as well as fragments of a mosaic layer that could have decorated the floor. These decorative elements hint at the presence of yet another building in the winery complex — possibly a residential structure for people who worked there, Ashmawy said.

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A new paper argues that early human ancestors acquired a taste for fat long before they began hunting for meat by scavenging marrow from the skeletal remains of large animals.

Source: A taste for fat may have made us human, says study

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Prehistoric peasant farmers struggling to put more food on the table fueled the global spread of some of the world’s first and most important domesticated grain crops beginning as early as 7,000 years ago, according to an international study led by anthropologists at Washington University in St. Louis.

Source: Prehistoric food globalization spanned three millennia

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Tombstone excavated in the gladiator cemetery at Ephesus. Photo: © 2014 Lösch et al.

Biblicalarchaeology.org

By Robin Ngo

Study reveals gladiator diet was largely plant-based with an ash tonic on the side

 

For abdominal cramp or bruises,” states Marcus Varro, and I quote his very words, “your hearth should be your medicine chest. Drink lye made from its ashes, and you will be cured. One can see how gladiators after a combat are helped by drinking this.”
Pliny,
Natural History XXXVI.203

The Roman gladiator calls to mind a fierce fighter who, armed with an assortment of weapons, battled other gladiators—and even wild animals. What did gladiators eat? Roman author Pliny the Elder reported that gladiators went by the nickname “hordearii” (“barley-eaters”) and drank a tonic of ashes after combat (Pliny, NHXVIII.72, XXXVI.203). A study recently published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE confirmed that gladiators really did eat mostly plants—especially barley and wheat—and may have indeed consumed ashes.

Gladiators were typically enslaved prisoners of war and criminals, though free men as well as women participated in gladiatorial games. What began as a component of funeral rites in the early Roman Republic evolved over centuries into bloody spectacles for the entertainment of the Roman people, reaching their peak in popularity in the second century C.E.

Researchers from the Institute of Forensic Medicine at the University of Bern and the Medical University of Vienna aimed to investigate how the diet of gladiators compared to the rest of the population. Using spectroscopy to conduct isotopic analysis on the bone remains from a second–third-century C.E. gladiator cemetery in Roman Ephesus in Turkey, the researchers were able to confirm that the individuals buried in the cemetery consumed a mostly plant-based diet—as did the rest of the population in Ephesus.

Gladiators appear to have eaten a diet similar to that of most other occupants of the Roman Empire, and the authors’ isotope data fit well with my own and others’ research into diet in the first few centuries C.E.,” said bioarchaeologist Kristina Killgrove in an email to Bible History Daily.

The study further found that those buried in the gladiator cemetery had higher strontium-calcium ratios than their contemporaries. This suggests that the gladiators at Ephesus may have really drunk a tonic of ashes as described by Pliny (“cinis lixivus potus”).

“Plant ashes were evidently consumed to fortify the body after physical exertion and to promote better bone healing,” study leader Fabian Kanz explained to ScienceDaily. “Things were similar then to what we do today—we take magnesium and calcium (in the form of effervescent tablets, for example) following physical exertion.”

In an email to Bible History Daily, classicist Daniel Harris-McCoy offers a caution when using Pliny the Elder as a textual source:

“Pliny the Elder is willing to print anything and everything, which makes him fun to read but sometimes hard to use as a source of solid information. He includes wild ‘facts’ about the giant gold-digging ants of India and even talks about ancient hallucinogenic drugs. But the material about gladiators consuming an ash drink seems credible, especially since Varro is his source.”

 

 

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Archeologists have found 3,000-year-old quinoa seeds at a site in Brantford, Ont., raising questions about the extent of trade among Indigenous peoples at the time. (Submitted by Gary Crawford)

CBC.ca

By Jasmine Kabatay · CBC

3,000-year-old seeds seemingly ‘processed for delivery’

A mass of quinoa seeds excavated from an archeological dig at a Brantford, Ont., construction site has been identified as being 3,000 years old, raising questions about the extent of trade among Indigenous peoples at the time.

The 140,000 seeds, which originate from the Kentucky-Tennessee area, seem as if they were “processed for delivery,” said Prof. Gary Crawford of department of anthropology at the University of Toronto.

The findings were published in the December 2018 issue of American Antiquity.

This is just one of these unbelievably fortuitous discoveries,” said Crawford.

“It just shows us that sometimes what seems to be a relatively insignificant site can have something incredibly important on it.”

Crawford says no one has reported this type of quinoa in Ontario before, and the discovery leads to more questions than answers, especially when it comes to trade.

He says the discovery shows that crops were part of trade at the time, and suggests that people in what is now Ontario were connected to others farther south.

He says it’s possible the seeds were grown here, but there’s no evidence.

“Of course the lack of evidence doesn’t mean they weren’t growing it. But for now I think the safe interpretation is this stuff was being imported,” said Crawford.

The seeds were found in 2010, after the site was assessed to see if there were any relevant archeological items in the area. Crawford says there was nothing unusual about the initial findings, as most of the items came from the area.

It wasn’t until the team examined sediment from a pit beside the site that they discovered something much bigger.

“It’s the first time I’ve been close to being shocked in 45 years of research, and I would say more delighted and surprised than shocked, but it was one of those ‘O-M-G’ moments that one gets when they’re doing research,” said Crawford.

Indigenous Canadians and Native Americans are and were sophisticated people, as sophisticated as anyone else in the world, and they were involved in fascinating kinds of things,” said Crawford.

Paula Whitlow, museum director at Woodland Cultural Centre in Brantford, says it isn’t really understood how Indigenous people traded back then. But it is understood there was an “extensive trade network.”

Whitlow notes that the largely peaceful Indigenous people who occupied the area at the time had an extensive trade network and even a city, Onondaga, that covered some 15 acres.

The next step with the seeds, Crawford says, is to look at “relatives” of this type of quinoa in the Ontario area.

“I think we need to work together with botanists to sort out whether the wild species that grows in Ontario is actually a feral version of this crop and whether weed distributions we see in the province today actually can be traced way back to Indigenous Canadian activity in the province,” said Crawford.

 

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Excavation and screening on Smokehouse Island on the Babine River. (Farid Rahemtulla)

 

original article:

cbc.ca

Archaeological findings out of northern B.C. have confirmed the oral history of the Lake Babine First Nation, dating back at least 1,300 years.

Some of the more significant findings include a large village and remnants of fishing weirs that were used for more than 1,000 years.

In 2010, the Lake Babine First Nation, located about 220 kilometres west of Prince George, approached researchers at the University of Northern British Columbia to help them with archeology in their region.

They wanted archeological evidence to confirm their people’s oral history which was once passed down through generations, but had been fragmented during colonization.

“It’s an area that has never been explored archeologically … that really is kind of a black hole,” project director and archeologist Farid Rahemtulla told Daybreak North, adding that most parts of B.C. have been studied more closely.

“This is really kind of all brand new and pretty exciting for the archeology and Indigenous communities in general.”

Focused on studying villages and fishing weirs

Researchers focused on finding remains of villages and fishing weirs around Lake Babine, a 150-kilometre long lake north of Burns Lake.

“They told us that these villages were quite large,” said Rahemtulla, and that people would gather for a few months in the summer and fall to harvest salmon and preserve the fish for the winter.

Oral history surrounding Lake Babine says a number of villages existed on its shores prior to European settlers moving into the area and that salmon was the primary resource. The discovery of the millennium-old weirs supports that version of events.

“The Babine watershed actually is home to quite a large number of the Skeena sockeye that come in from Prince Rupert,” Rahemtulla said.

“This allowed the Babine people to take quite a number of those fish through these complex wood fish weirs that they constructed.”

Having examined the weirs closely, Rahemtulla said they were technologically advanced. Researchers are currently working to find out how they were built and used.

One village called Nass Glee, near Fort Babine on the northern reach of the lake, is so large that archaeologists have yet to find its boundaries. Because of its size, Rahemtulla said the only way it could have been sustained would have been by fish caught using the wooden weirs.

Researchers are planning to head back to the region in the summer to focus on a man-made island engineered 1,000 years ago using stone tools.

“As far as I know it might be the only one in the world,” Rahemtulla said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Source: A Dark Age Beacon

go to page3 of this document to read references to olive oil and wine.

the entire article is most fascinating especially to me and my love of England. My husband and I visited here in 1997, went to  Tintagel, climbed the steps and went across the  to the excavations under works at the time. I would love to return.

 

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