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Viking drinking hall

 

Scotsman.com

A Viking “drinking hall” that could have been used by a high-ranking chieftain 800 years ago has been unearthed in Orkney, archaeologists say.

The discovery was made at Skaill Farmstead in Westness, Rousay, and is believed to have been a high-status Norse hall, dating as far back as the tenth century.

Westness is mentioned in the Orkneyinga Saga – a historical narrative of the archipelago – as the home of Sigurd, a powerful 12th-century chieftain.


The site offers an “unparalleled” opportunity to research eating habits in the region over a millennia, according to researchers from the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI).

The name Skaill suggests the site was home to a Norse hall or drinking hall and was a high-status site.

A team from the UHI Archaeology Institute, residents and students have been digging at the site for a number of years in an effort to find the building.

Dan Lee, co-director of the excavation project, said “The exciting news this season is that we have now found the hall at Skaill, as the place name suggests.

“You never know, but perhaps Earl Sigurd himself sat on one of the stone benches inside the hall and drank a flagon of ale.”

The hall is believed to date to the tenth to 12th centuries and was discovered below a more recent farmstead.

“Substantial” stone walls were found 5.5m apart, with internal features such as stone benches along either side.

The building appears to be more than 13m long and facing down a slope towards the sea, although it is not yet fully uncovered.

Finds have included soapstone from Shetland, pottery and a bone spindle whorl, while a fragment of a Norse bone comb was also unearthed.

Archaeologists have been investigating the later stages of the farm complex and its middens, with a particular focus on past diet, farming and fishing practices.

 

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Ancient fridg

 

Hurriyetdailynews.com

 

 

 

A farmer in eastern Turkey uncovered a pre-modern food storage device on July 24 while plowing his field.

The device, dating back to the late 1700s, was taken under protection by the Archeology and Ethnography Museum of Elazığ province, according to local officials.

“It is a natural refrigerator produced under contemporary conditions to preserve food for people centuries ago,” Baskil District Mayor İhsan Akmurat said.

The interior of the 1.4 meter-tall (4.6 feet) container is plastered with concrete mortar, and the exterior made of red clay to hold sustain humidity keep food fresh in the compartment.

Akmurat noted that the discovery shows the region was once an important residential area.

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Pottery containing egg shells

By JARRETT A. LOBELL

Archaeology.org

You might have seen a delicacy known as “century eggs” on Chinese restaurant menus or on the shelves of Asian markets and wondered, “Are those eggs really 100 years old?” (Answer: They aren’t. It actually only takes about a month to make them, using a pickling liquid made from lye, salt, and water, and then rolling the eggs in mud and wrapping them in rice husks.) In a recently excavated tomb in eastern China’s Jiangsu province, however, archaeologists found a jar filled with eggs dating all the way back to the Spring and Autumn Period (770–ca. 475 B.C.), making these incredible edibles at least 2,500 years old. Sadly, only the shells remain.

 

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Frog carved from shell and mollusk shells

 

 

Archaeology.org

 

Around A.D. 400, archaeologists believe, children from the indigenous Caribbean Saladoid culture on the island of St. Thomas helped their mothers put food on the table by foraging. The researchers have found that a midden in downtown Charlotte Amalie contains thousands of mollusk shells, the majority of which are smaller snails that adults wouldn’t have bothered to collect because of their low meat yield. Rather, these smaller animals were gathered by Saladoid children, who scoured shallow areas along the shore. “Children made it possible to exploit a wider area more efficiently,” says archaeologist William Keegan of the Florida Museum of Natural History. They could fill a whole basket with small whelks, he explains, and still easily carry it back to their village.
 

Such aid was necessary because Saladoid communities were matrilocal, so men lived primarily in their mothers’ villages rather than with their wives and children. This made women responsible for providing most of the food for their families, says Keegan. They would supplement produce from their gardens with shellfish, collected in part by the helping hands of their children.

 

 

 

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I just had to share this. All about food with amazing photos,envoking both the ancient and modern.  JLP

 

Food is everything we are. It’s an extension of national feeling, ethnic feeling, your personal history, your province, your region, your tribe, your grandma. It’s inseparable from those from the get-go. – Anthony Bourdain If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. – J.R.R. […]

via Everything We Are — Steve McCurry’s Blog

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Telesurenglish.net

Australia’s Budj Bim cultural landscape could become the country’s first Aboriginal cultural value to make it on United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s (UNESCO’s) World Heritage List, after being nominated by the International Council on Monuments and Sites Tuesday.

Budj Bim is a 6,000-year-old aquaculture system located in southwest Victoria that was developed by the Gunditjmara people.

“There are around 200 registered and recorded stone house sites, so people were living a sedentary life,” Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation project manager, Elder Denis Rose, explained.

The Gunditjmara people constructed what is thought to be one of the world’s oldest aquaculture systems, configured into channels and weirs using volcanic rocks to manipulate the water flow of rivers and trap migrating eels for food.

“Budj Bim holds a vast network of wetlands that was constructed by first nation people, it contains evidence of a system used to farm and smoke eels and fish,” Chief Operating Officer of Parks Victoria, Simon Talbot stated. “It was permanent settlement, with huts and house remains that have been protected by Gunditjmara people.”

According to UNESCO, the evidence of construction and farming at Budj Bim “challenges the common perception and assumption of Australia’s First Peoples as having all been hunter-gatherers living in resource-constrained environments.”

 

The Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation has developed a plan for sustainable tourism.

“There’s the economic benefit to the region,” Elder Rose said. “Millions of people travel the Great Ocean Road each year, and if we could attract even a fraction of that to Budj Bim, it would be beneficial to tourism.”

The International Council on Monuments and Sites monitors the conservation and protection of cultural heritage places globally.

“We fought battles to get land back and we had access to very little land 20 to 30 years ago and such little control,” Rose said.

“Today, we have management responsibility of about 10,000 hectares including the Budj Bim national park, and that pride and sense of achievement we have is so important. It’s also nice to look back and really appreciate how our ancestors looked after country so well.”

The nomination of Budj Bim will be formally reviewed by the world heritage committee in July.

“Budj Bim is one of Australia’s most important cultural sites and now it’s a step away from World Heritage Status. We’re supporting the Gunditjmara people in their self-determination as they lead the development of this landscape to share it sustainably with the world,” Victoria’s Aboriginal affairs minister, Gavin Jennings, noted.

Budj Bim Landscape are recognized and protected by the Victorian Government under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 and by the Commonwealth Government under the National Heritage List, and was added to Australia’s Tentative World Heritage List in 2017.

Australia has 19 world heritage sites, including Sydney Opera House, Kakadu national park and the Great Barrier Reef.

 

 

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University of Bristol

Phys.org

Scientists from the University of Bristol have uncovered, for the first time, definitive evidence that determines what types of food medieval peasants ate and how they managed their animals.

Using chemical analysis of pottery fragments and animal bones found at one of England’s earliest medieval villages, combined with detailed examination of a range of historical documents and accounts, the research has revealed the daily of peasants in the Middle Ages. The researchers were also able to look at butchery techniques, methods of food preparation and rubbish disposal at the settlement Dr. Julie Dunne and Professor Richard Evershed from the University of Bristol’s Organic Geochemistry Unit, based within the School of Chemistry, led the research, published today in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

Julie said: “All too often in history the detail, for example food and clothing, of the everyday life of ordinary people is unknown.

“Traditionally, we focus on the important historical figures as these are the people discussed in .

“Much is known of the medieval dietary practices of the nobility and ecclesiastical institutions, but less about what foods the medieval peasantry consumed.”

The scarce historical documents that exist that tell us that medieval peasant ate meat, fish, , fruit and vegetables but there is little direct evidence for this.

The OGU team used the technique of organic residue analysis to chemically extract residues from the remains of cooking pots used by peasants in the small medieval village of West Cotton in Northamptonshire.

Organic residue analysis is a scientific technique commonly used in archaeology. It is mainly used on ancient pottery, which is the most common artefact found on worldwide.

Researchers used chemical and isotopic techniques to identify lipids, the fats, oils and natural waxes of the natural world, from the ceramics.

These can survive over thousands of years and the compounds found are one of the best ways scientists and archaeologists can determine what our ancestors ate.

The findings demonstrated that stews (or pottages) of meat (beef and mutton) and vegetables such as cabbage and leek, were the mainstay of the medieval peasant diet.

The research also showed that dairy products, likely the ‘green cheeses’ known to be eaten by the peasantry, also played an important role in their diet.

Dr. Dunne added: “Food and diet are central to understanding daily life in the medieval period, particularly for the medieval peasant.

“This study has provided valuable information on diet and animal husbandry by medieval peasants and helped illustrate agricultural production, consumption and economic life in one of England’s early medieval villages.”

Professor Evershed said “West Cotton was one of the first archaeological sites we worked on when we began developing the organic residue approach – it is extraordinary how, by applying the suite of the latest methods, we can provide information missing from historical documents.”


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