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On this day ten years ago…

via Ancient humans left evidence from the party that ended 4,000 years ago

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Windwick Bay at South Ronaldsay, close to the site of the massive cliff top feast held more than 1,700 years ago. PIC: http://www.geography.co.uk

 

Original article:

Scotsman.com

 

Archaeologists have identified the site of a huge Iron Age feast on Orkney where more than 10,000 animals were cooked and eaten in a vast cliff top celebration.

Tests have shown that horses, cattle, red deer and otters were on the menu at the gathering above Windwick Bay, South Ronaldsay, more than 1,700 years ago.

READ MORE: Early 19th Century whale skeletons found on Orkney dig

Archaeologists from the University of the Highlands and Islands have been working at The Cairns for several years.

A large number of jewellery fragments and tools have already been discovered at the site, where the remains of an Iron Age broch and metalworking site can be found, with recent radiocarbon tests carried out at a midden – or rubbish tip – nearby.

READ MORE: Archaeologists survey Scotland’s forests under the sea

Examination has identified the cooked bones of around 10,000 animals in the dump.

Martin Carruthers, an Iron Age expert at UHI and programme leader for MSc Archaeological Practice at the UHI Archaeology Institute, said: “These numbers tell you about the scale of the feast and the largesse of being able to have that amount of food in circulation for what appears to be a short lived event.

“The feast is doing two things. Its probably celebrating the successful conclusion of the making of a big batch of jewellery.

“The second point is the feast is pretty enormous and it is it probably the arena where pins and brooches are being handed out to individuals within the community.”

He said the event was likely to maintain and reinforce the structure of Iron Age society on the island at a time when Romans could be found further south on the mainland.

A large rectangular building with a huge central hearth, similar to the ‘Wag’ structures found in Caithness, can also be found at The Cairns.

This imposing building dates to around the time of the feasting event and perhaps represents the residence of a powerful household who organised the production and distribution of the valuable jewellery pieces.

Mr Carruthers added: “Whoever is causing this metal work to be produced is responsible for metal workers on the site or bringing in itinerant workers.

“The elites are driving their authority from the people and offering out these tokens in return.

“Thee items are probably of such high value that people could never have the capacity to pay back the debt. It holds you in your place.

“This whole event is about maintaining society.”

He also suggested that open air feasting could have been a method in which evolving Iron Age society expressed identity and solidarity.

The broch at The Cairns is known to have fallen out of use around the middle of the Second Century AD.

Later, two iron-working furnaces were set up at the site and more than 60 moulds used to cast fine bronze objects have been found at The Cairns over time.

These were used to cast a variety of objects ranging from simple bronze rings, to distinctive decorated dress pins and penannular brooches -the open-ring, cloak brooches that are sometimes referred to as Celtic brooches.

 

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Reffley Wood Excavation Site

Topic Secret Society feasts at Reffley Wood

If you go down to Reffley woods today, you’re sure to find some fine porcelain tableware and an American coin left by members of a historic secret society.

The West Norfolk and King’s Lynn Archaeology Society have uncovered evidence of the Reffley Brethren at an excavation in the remains of the old temple.

During the summer, the society has been running a number of digs across the Gaywood Valley to learn more about the area’s heritage.

The final digs were undertaken in Reffley, which has yielded proof of the secret society, which apparently still meets today.

Society chairman Dr Clive Bond said: “The tableware, is porcelain, fine ware, including Willow-patten ware. This, and the pipes must relate to brethern meetings at the spring and in the building. They still smoke long clay pipes, part of the ritual at meetings and, of course drinking the distilled Reffley wine has always been important to meetings

“In themselves, actually post-medieval pottery, clay pipes are not so unusual. But, importantly, this is at the temple site and we know meetings occurred over a few hundred years with ceremonies for a small group, a secret society. The place, the Reffley Brew and finding artefacts that must relate to these activities, is a unique insight into a distinct Lynn history.”

The brethren was formed after the execution of King Charles I in 1649 to oppose Oliver Cromwell.

Members would use natural iron-bearing springs in Reffley to make their secret punch and toast the Roman god of wine, Bacchus, within their octagonal temple.

The temple was built in 1711 by the land owners, the Ffolkes family, and was guarded by sphinxes and contained an obelisk, which were both removed in the 1990s for safety reasons.

At their meetings the brethren would traditionally eat a large joint of beef, saddle of mutton and a lobster salad.

After, the society would smoke a secret blend of tobacco through huge clay pipes.

Some of these pipes along with the coin were uncovered within the 30cm test pit dug by archaeologists at the temple on October 20 and 21.

Dr Bond said: “The brethen may have been people of influence, power and somebody may have travelled. We don’t know how the coin got there, but, it could well relate to the meetings, or just be somebody visiting from an American air base. The date on the coin is not clear yet.”

The society also uncovered some prehistoric flint flakes in two test pits on a footpath near Reffley Lane. Fifteen people took part in the dig, which was attended by Dr Mary Chester-Kadwell from Cambridge Community Heritage.

Also found was a Roman Samian pottery, a Saxon-Norman kiln site and air raid shelters.

He said: “Families, friends, children, even borough councillors have enjoyed their chance to learn how to use a trowel and be Lynn’s Indiana Jones.”

Original article:
lynnnews.co.uk
October30, 2013

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Topic: Discovery of ancient feast

This is the first of two articles I found on the subject-each has different info so I’ll put one up today and one Wed.

Anthropologists have unearthed the leftovers of the world’s first known organized feast, which took place around 12,000 years ago at a burial site in Israel, according to a new study.

Based on the findings, approximately 35 guests ate meat from 71 tortoises and at least three wild cattle while attending this first known human-orchestrated event involving food.

The discovery additionally provides the earliest known compelling evidence for a shaman burial, the apparent reason for the feasting. A shaman is an individual who performs rituals and engages in other practices for healing or divination.

In this case, the shaman was a woman.

“I wasn’t surprised that the shaman was a woman, because women have often taken on shamanistic roles as healers, magicians and spiritual leaders in societies across the globe,” lead author Natalie Munro told Discovery News.

Munro, a University of Connecticut anthropologist, and colleague Leore Grosman of Hebrew University in Jerusalem excavated and studied the shaman’s skeleton and associated feasting remains. These were found at the burial site, Hilazon Tachtit cave, located about nine miles west of the Sea of Galilee in Israel.

According to the study, published in the latest Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the grave consisted of an oval-shaped basin that was intentionally cut into the cave’s floor.

“After the oval was excavated, the sides and bottom of the floor were lined with stone slabs lined and plastered with clay brought into the cave from outside,” said Munro.

The 71 tortoise shells, previously butchered for meat removal, were found situated under, around and on top of the remains of the woman. The woman’s skeleton indicates she suffered from deformities that would have possibly made her limp and “given her an unnatural, asymmetrical appearance.” A large triangular stone slab was placed over the grave to seal it.

Bones from at least three butchered aurochs — large ancestors of today’s domestic cattle — were unearthed in a nearby hollow. An auroch’s tail, a wild boar forearm, a leopard pelvis and two marten skulls were also found.

The total amount of meat could have fed 35 people, but it is possible that many more attended the event.

“These remains attest to the unique position of this individual within her community and to her special relationship with the animal world,” Munro said.

Before this discovery, other anthropologists had correctly predicted that early feasting might have occurred just prior to the dawn of agriculture.

Harvard’s Ofer Bar-Yosef, for example, found that fig trees were being domesticated in the Near East about 11,400 years ago, making them the first known domesticated crop. Staples such as wheat, barley and legumes were domesticated in the region roughly a thousand years later. Full-scale agriculture occurred later, about 10,000 years ago.

As agriculture began, however, “there was a critical switch in the human mind: from exploiting the earth as it is to actively changing the environment to suit our needs,” Bar-Yosef said.

Munro agrees and thinks the change could help to explain the advent of communal feasting.

“People were coming into contact with each other a lot, and that can create friction,” she said. “Before, they could get up and leave when they had problems with the neighbors. Now, these public events served as community-building opportunities, which helped to relieve tensions and solidify social relationships.”

Original article:

DiscoveryNews

By Jennifer Viegas

8/30.2010

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Buena Vista peru 

Topic: Ancient Feast

Gourd and squash artifacts were recovered from this sunken pit and platform in the Fox Temple at the Buena Vista site in central Peru.

My Thoughts:

This dig with its findings of manioc, chile peppers and potato’s show us that ancient man was not dependant on just his hunting skills.

This looks like a feast any one of us would enjoy-that is if they liked their food hot!

 

Ancient humans left evidence from the party that ended 4,000 years ago

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