Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Iron age’

It fell to the bottom of a loch 2,500 years ago – its story long untold as it remained hidden by the deep, dark waters.
Original article: Scotsman.com

Monday, 20th July 2020, 5:00 pm

Monday, 20th July 2020, 4:58 pm

Updated 

The replica crannog on Loch Tay, where the butter was found.

Now, the wooden butter dish remains one of the most evocative items left behind by Scotland’s ancient water dwellers who made their homes on Loch Tay.

The dish was recovered during earlier excavations on the loch where at least 17 crannogs, or Iron Age wooden houses, were once dotted up and down the water.

Built from alder with a life span of around 20 years, the structures simply collapsed into the loch once they had served their purpose, with an incredible array of objects taken with them.

The 2,500-year-old butter dish and the remains of the butter. PIC: Scottish Crannog Centre.

The 2,500-year-old butter dish and the remains of the butter. PIC: Scottish Crannog Centre.

Among them was the dish which, remarkably, still carried traces of butter made by this Iron Age community.

Rich Hiden, archaeologist at the Scottish Crannog Centre, said the item had helped to illuminate the everyday life of the crannog dwellers who farmed the surrounding land, grew barley and ancient wheats such as spelt and emmer, and reared animals.

The crannogs were probably considered high-status sites which offered good security as well as easy access to trading routes along the Tay and into the North Sea.

Mr Hiden said conditions at the bottom of the loch had offered the perfect environment to preserve the butter and the dish.

He said: “Because of the fantastic anaerobic conditions, where there is very light, oxygen or bacteria to break down anything organic, you get this type of sealed environment.

“When they started excavating, they pulled out this square wooden dish, well around three quarters of a square wooden dish, which had these really nice chisel marks on the sides as well as this grey stuff.”

Liped analysis on this matter found that it was dairy material, with experts believing it likely originated from a cow.

Holes in the bottom of the wooden dish further suggest that it was used for the buttering process.

Cream would have been churned until thickened until it splits to form the buttermilk, with a woven cloth – possibly made from nettle fibres – placed in the dish with the clumps of cream then further pushed through to separate the last of the liquid.Read MoreBreakthrough in study of Scotland’s ancient loch dwellers

The butter then may have been turned into cheese by adding rennet, which naturally forms in a number of plants, including nettles.

Mr Hiden said: “This dish is so valuable in many ways. To be honest, we would expect people of this time to be eating dairy. In the early Iron Age, they had mastered the technology of smelting iron ore into to’s so mastering the technology of dairy we would expect.

“So while it may not surprise us that they are eating dairy, what is so important about this butter dish is that it helps us to identify what life was like in the crannogs and the skills and the tools that they had

“To me, that is archaeology at its finest. It is using the object itself to unravel the story. The best thing about this butter dish is that is so personal and offers us such a complete snapshot of what was happening here.

He added: “It is not just a piece of wood. You look at it and you start to extrapolate so much. If you start to pull one thread, you look at the tool marks and you see they were using very fine chisels to make this kind of object. They were probably making their own so that gives another aspect as to how life was here.”

It is believed that 20 people and animals lived in a crannog at any one time. Many trees were used to fashion the homes, with the Iron Age residents having a solid knowledge of trees with their houses thatched with reed and bracken.

Hazel was woven into panels to make walls and partitions.

Plans are underway to relocate the Scottish Crannog Centre to a bigger site at Dalerb, with three to four crannogs to be built in the water there.

A message from the Editor:Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers – and consequently the revenue we receive – we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.Subscribe to scotsman.com and enjoy unlimited access to Scottish news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit https://www.scotsman.com/subscriptions now to sign up.

Read Full Post »

On this day ten years ago…
via Iron Age toilet to early ‘Rayburn’: in prehistoric Shetland

Read Full Post »

On this day ten years ago…

via 3,000-year-old butter found in Kildare bog

Read Full Post »

Archaeologists have uncovered evidence that Swiss cheesemaking dates back to prehistoric times, paving the way for such delicacies as Gruyere and Emmental.

Source: Iron age man was as fond of Swiss cheese as we are

Read Full Post »

The layout of Lattara (modern Lattes) at the end of the second century.  The tavern is located in Zone 75 [Credit: Antiquity]

The layout of Lattara (modern Lattes) at the end of the second century.
The tavern is located in Zone 75 [Credit: Antiquity]

 

A view of the ash-filled oven next to an insert (lower right) of a modern tabouna  (Tunisian bread) oven from Souidat, Tunisia [Credit: Antiquity]

A view of the ash-filled oven next to an insert (lower right) of a modern tabouna
(Tunisian bread) oven from Souidat, Tunisia [Credit: Antiquity]

 

Original Article:

Author: Laura Geggel | Source: LiveScience [March 10, 2016]

archaeologynewsnetwork

 

One of France’s earliest-known Roman taverns is still littered with drinking bowls and animal bones, even though more than 2,000 years have passed since it served patrons, a new archaeological study finds.

An excavation uncovered dozens of other artifacts, including plates and bowls, three ovens, and the base of a millstone that was likely used for grinding flour, the researchers said.

The finding is a valuable one, said study co-researcher Benjamin Luley, a visiting assistant professor of anthropology and classics at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania. Before the Romans invaded the south of France, in 125 B.C., a culture speaking the Celtic language lived there and practiced its own customs.

These Celtic people lived in densely settled, fortified sites during the Iron Age (750 B.C. to 125 B.C.), trading with cultures near and far, the researchers said. But after the Roman invasion, the Celtic culture at this location changed socially and economically, Luley said.

For instance, the new findings suggest that some people under the Romans stopped preparing their own meals and began eating at communal places, such as taverns.

“Rome had a big impact on southern France,” Luley told Live Science. “We don’t see taverns before the Romans arrive.”

The newly excavated tavern is located at Lattara, an archaeological site that’s been known to modern researchers since the early 1980s. But Luley and his colleague Gaël Piquès, a researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research, were specifically looking for artifacts dating to the end of the Iron Age, when the Romans arrived, the archaeologists said.

The researchers were in luck: The site they uncovered dates to about 125 B.C. to 75 B.C., spanning the period following the Roman conquest, and was located at the intersection of two important streets, the scientists said.

At first, the researchers weren’t sure what to make of it. But a number of clues suggested the site was once a bustling tavern, one that likely served fish, flatbread, and choice cuts of cows and sheep, Luley said.

The excavated area includes a courtyard and two large rooms; one was dedicated to cooking and making flour, and the other was likely reserved for serving patrons, the researchers said. There are three large bread ovens on one end of the kitchen, which indicates that “this isn’t just for one family,” but likely an establishment for serving many people, Luley said. On the other side of the kitchen, the researchers found a row of three stone piles, likely bases for a millstone that helped people grind flour, Luley said.

“One side, they’re making flour. On the other side, they’re making flatbread,” Luley said. “And they’re also probably using the ovens for other things as well.” For example, the archaeologists found lots of fish bones and scales that someone had cut off during food preparation, Luley added.

The other room was likely a dining room, the researchers said. The archaeologists uncovered a large fireplace and a bench along three of the walls that would have accommodated Romans, who reclined when they ate, Luley said. Moreover, the researchers found different kinds of animal bones, such as wishbones and fish vertebra, which people simply threw on the floor. (At that time, people didn’t have the same level of cleanliness as some do now, Luley noted.)

The dining room also had “an overrepresentation of drinking bowls,” used for serving wine — more than would typically be seen in a regular house, he said. Next to the two rooms was a courtyard filled with more animal bones and an offering: a buried stone millstone, a drinking bowl and a plate that likely held cuts of meat.

“Based upon the evidence presented here, it appears that the courtyard complex … functioned as a space for feeding large numbers of people, well beyond the needs of a single domestic unit or nuclear family,” the researchers wrote in the study. “This is unusual, as large, ‘public’ communal spaces for preparing large amounts of food and eating together are essentially nonexistent in Iron Age Mediterranean France.”

Perhaps some of the people of Lattara needed places like the tavern to provide meals for them after the Romans arrived, Luley said.

“If they might be, say, working in the fields, they might not be growing their own food themselves,” he said. And though the researchers haven’t found any coins at the tavern yet, “We think that this is a beginning of the monetary economy” at Lattera, Luley said.

The study was published in the journal Antiquity.

 

Read Full Post »

Opium Poppy

Opium Poppy

Cumin plants

Cumin plants

Original article:

sciencedaily.com

Date: August 28, 2015
Source:
Bar-Ilan University

New findings show that Philistine culture had a major and long-term impact on floral biodiversity in Israel and may assist ecologists in dealing with invasive species.

A new study describes the bio-archaeological remains of the Philistine culture in Israel during the Iron Age (12th century to 7th century BCE). The results of this research indicate that the ca. 600 year presence of the Philistine culture had a major and long-term impact on local floral biodiversity.

One of the most pressing issues in modern biological conservation is “invasion biology.” Due to unprecedented contacts between peoples and culture in today’s “global village” certain animal and plant species are spreading widely throughout the world, often causing enormous damage to local species.

Recent studies have shown that alien species have had a substantial impact not only in recent times but also in antiquity. This is exemplified in a study published in the August 25th issue of Scientific Reports by a team led by archaeologists from Bar-Ilan University’s Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology (Suembikya (Sue) Frumin, Prof. Ehud Weiss and Prof. Aren Maeir) and the Hebrew University (Dr. Liora Kolska Horwitz), describing the bio-archaeological remains of the

Philistine culture during the Iron Age (12th century to 7th century BCE). The team compiled a database of plant remains extracted from Bronze and Iron Ages sites in the southern Levant, both Philistine and non-Philistine. By analyzing this database, the researchers concluded that the Philistines brought to Israel not just themselves but also their plants.

he species they brought are all cultivars that had not been seen in Israel previously. This includes edible parts of the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) which originates in western Europe; the sycamore tree (Ficus sycomorus), whose fruits are known to be cultivated in the eastern Mediterranean, especially Egypt, and whose presence in Israel as a locally grown tree is first attested to in the Iron Age by the presence of its fruit; and finally, cumin (Cuminum cyminum), a spice originating in the Eastern Mediterranean. Sue Frumin, a PhD student at Prof. Ehud Weiss’s archaeobotanical lab, Bar-Ilan University, explains that “the edible parts of these species — opium poppy, sycamore, and cumin — were not identified in the archaeobotanical record of Israel prior to the Iron Age, when the Philistine culture first appeared in the region. None of these plants grows wild in Israel today, but instead grows only as cultivated plants.”

In addition to the translocation of exotic plants from other regions, the Philistines were the first community to exploit over 70 species of synanthropic plants (species which benefit from living in the vicinity of man) that were locally available in Israel, such as Purslane, Wild Radish, Saltwort, Henbane and Vigna. These plant species were not found in archaeological sites pre-dating the Iron Age, or in Iron Age archaeological sites recognized as belonging to non-Philistine cultures — Canaanite, Israelite, Judahite, and Phoenician. The “agricultural revolution” that accompanied the Philistine culture reflects a different agrarian regime and dietary preferences to that of their contemporaries.

The fact that the three exotic plants introduced by the Philistines originate from different regions accords well with the diverse geographic origin of these people. The Philistines — one of the so called Sea Peoples, and mentioned in the Bible and other ancient sources — were a multi-ethnic community with origins in the Aegean, Turkey, Cyprus and other regions in the Eastern Mediterranean who settled on the southern coastal plain of Israel in the early Iron Age (12th century BCE), and integrated with Canaanite and other local populations, finally to disappear at the end of the Iron Age (ca. 600 BCE).

The results of this research indicate that the ca. 600 year presence of the Philistine culture in Israel had a major and long-term impact on local floral biodiversity. The Philistines left as a biological heritage a variety of plants still cultivated in Israel, including, among others, sycamore, cumin, coriander, bay tree and opium poppy.

The Philistines also left their mark on the local fauna. In a previous study also published in Scientific Reports in which two of the present authors (Maeir and Kolska Horwitz) participated, DNA extracted from ancient pig bones from Philistine and non-Philistine sites in Israel demonstrated that European pigs were introduced by the Philistines into Israel and slowly swamped the local pig populations through inter-breeding. As a consequence, modern wild boar in Israel today bears a European haplotype rather than a local, Near Eastern one.

As illustrated by these studies, the examination of the ancient bio-archaeological record has the potential to help us understand the long-term mechanisms and vectors that have contributed to current floral and faunal biodiversity, information that may also assist contemporary ecologists in dealing with the pressing issue of invasive species.

###

Journal Reference:

Suembikya Frumin, Aren M. Maeir, Liora Kolska Horwitz, Ehud Weiss. Studying Ancient Anthropogenic Impacts on Current Floral Biodiversity in the Southern Levant as reflected by the Philistine Migration. Scientific Reports, 2015; 5: 13308 DOI: 10.1038/srep13308

 

Read Full Post »

20140122-134144.jpg

Image From Nordjyllands Historiske Museum

Topic: Iron Age village
During evaluation of land prior to the construction of a new hospital in Aalborg, Northern Denmark, archaeologists uncovered an Iron Age village dating back around 2000 years. The settlement differs from other sites of this period because of its well preserved condition, including a number of houses complete with fireplaces, chalk floors and cobbled paving.

The village covers an area of ​​approximately 4 ha., and excavation has so far located about 40 houses. However, this number is expected to increase greatly during full excavation, but initial reports show they are not all contemporary, and represent repeated reconstruction and rebuild over hundreds of years.

Usually, only traces of the postholes are left to understand the layout of a house, but the village had been covered over with a thick layer of soil, that had protected it after abandonment. Several of the houses had floors created out of chalk for the living area, while other parts of the buildings appeared to be used as stabling for animals. Preliminary studies show bones found were mainly from the butchering of cattle, pigs, sheep and goats, but the inhabitants supplemented their diet with fish from the nearby fjord.

In addition to discovering the core of the settlement, archaeologists also found traces of the quarry pits south of the village, where chalk was excavated for the house floors. Traces of cultivation was also noted in the form of ard marks (plough) and this could shed light on aspects of the village economy and agricultural production.

Early example of a cat

A surprise discovery was the skeletal remains of a cat – which has caused some excitement – as this domestic variety was first introduced to Denmark from the Roman Empire during the Iron Age – making this a very early example. Previously, the earliest known domestic cat came from a cremation grave in Kastrup, Jutland dating to c. AD 200.

The osteological finds have supplied a potential area of further work as the team uncovered a greater than expected quantity of horse bones. Horses were usually seen as a sign of wealth during this period, and the number of remains opens up questions concerning status.

Larger cultural landscape

The village forms part of a larger cultural landscape in southeastern Aalborg around the village of Sonder Tranders where there is evidence of many other settlements and burial sites.
The area at South Tranders is also rich in metal finds from the Viking and Middle Ages that have been discovered by detectorists.

The results of this investigation can now be combined to further develop understanding of the Iron Age from a south Scandinavian perspective.

The archaeologists from the North Jutland Historical Museum have so far evaluated 58 ha., of which 54 ha. has already been released to the construction of the hospital. They are currently waiting to see how large an area of ​​the village will be affected before deciding how much more work can be undertaken.

Source: Nordjyllands Historiske Museum

Original article:
past horizons
Jan 17, 2014

20140122-135244.jpg
A large quantity of Iron Age pottery was recovered along with the animal remains. Image: © Nordjyllands Historiske Museum

Read Full Post »

20140108-145023.jpg

Copies of the Golden Horns of Gallehus 5th century BC: Two horns made of sheet gold, discovered in Gallehus, north of Møgeltønder in Southern Jutland, Denmark. Image: Vladimir Tkalčić (Flickr, used under a CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Topic: Nordic drinking history

A new book describes the fascinating history of drinking horns and their importance within Scandinavian culture where their roots stretch back into at least the Iron Age as several graves have been found to contain examples from this period.

A long history

During Classical Antiquity, it was the Thracians and Scythians who were known for their custom of drinking from actual horns but in Bronze Age Mycenaean Greece, although they had retained their shape the materials used were clay or metal. Their spread across Central Europe and into Scandanavia by the 5th century BC can be traced by their fittings found in various graves.

The Gallehus horns, discovered north of Møgeltønder in Southern Jutland, Denmark, were created from sheet gold. Designed to look like auroch horns, they were found in 1639 and in 1734 respectively at locations only 20 metres apart and date to the early 5th century BC. Sadly the originals were stolen and melted down in 1802.

Some drinking horns were even imported into Scandinavia from the Roman Empire and made from fragile glass. However, it is in the Viking Age that the drinking horn fills the sagas and mythology and are found throughout their world. Fortunately, decorative metal terminals and mounts recovered archaeologically show that the drinking horn was much more widespread than the small number of preserved horns would otherwise indicate.

Viking Age

Horn fragments of Viking Age drinking vessels are rarely preserved, but the ones that are show both cattle and goat favoured. However, the majority were from domestic cattle and held around half a litre.

Significantly larger auroch horn examples (as the size of the fittings attest), found at sites such as the Sutton Hoo burial would have been the exception.

Banned by the church

Suddenly in the 1100s the use of drinking horns stopped in Scandinavia, apparently banned by the church which saw them as symbolic of the older pagan culture. A hundred years later though the the practice resumed, and most of the medieval drinking horns come from 1300-1400 ‘s with many masterpieces decorated with gilt, silver and bronze.

Mythical and supernatural

A few of the horns in the Danish collection are up to 87 cm long and come from aurochs, which became extinct in the 1600s. During the Middle Ages it was believed that many of the horns were griffin claws, a mythical creature with a head and body of an eagle and the hindquarters of a lion.

Often the drinking horn is imbued with a supernatural aura and appears in dramatic tales and stories such as fairy women trying to entice men to drink deadly poison.

Three Kings

Unusually, the ‘Three Kings’ have a special connection to drinking horn cultural history, and many of them bear inscriptions of their names; Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar. Their special holy day is celebrated on the 6th January, when tradition says that they found the baby Jesus after following the star. One of their gifts is often regarded in Scandinavian countries to have been a drinking horn.

The new book is by Vivian Etting, a historian and curator at the National Museum who specializes in 1300s and 1400′s Nordic history and has written several books and numerous articles including in-depth studies regarding the medieval castles of Denmark.

Source: National Museum of Denmark

Original article:
past horizons
Jan3, 2014

For more information go to drinking culture

Read Full Post »

20130419-105126.jpg

Topic: Early cookbook

A 12th-century manuscript contains the oldest known European Medieval food recipes, according to new research.

The recipes, which include both food and medical ointment concoctions, were compiled and written in Latin. Someone jotted them down at Durham Cathedral’s monastery in the year 1140.

It was essentially a health book, so the meals were meant to improve a person’s health or to cure certain afflictions. The other earliest known such recipes dated to 1290.

NEWS: Early Human Ancestors Ate Grass

Many of the dishes sound like they would work on a modern restaurant menu. Faith Wallis, an expert in medical history and science based at McGill University, translated a few for Discovery News:

“For “hen in winter’: heat garlic, pepper and sage with water.”

“For ‘tiny little fish’: juice of coriander and garlic, mixed with pepper and garlic.”

For preserved ginger, it should kept in “pure water” and then “sliced lengthwise into very thin slices, and mixed thoroughly with prepared honey that has been cooked down to a sticky thickness and skimmed. It should be rubbed well in the honey with the hands, and left a whole day and night.”

Re – the “hen in winter” dish, Giles Gasper from Durham University’s Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies said, “We believe this recipe is simply a seasonal variation, using ingredients available in the colder months and specifying ‘hen’ rather than ‘chicken,’ meaning it was an older bird as it would be by that time of year.”

Gasper added, “The sauces typically feature parsley, sage, pepper, garlic, mustard and coriander, which I suspect may give them a Mediterranean feel when we recreate them. According to the text, one of the recipes comes from the Poitou region of what is now modern central western France. This shows the extent to which international travel and exchange of ideas took place within the medieval period. And what more evocative example of cultural exchange could there be than food?”

NEWS: Iron Age Feast Found in England

Gaspar and colleagues are recreating some of the dishes for a workshop to be held on April 25 at Blackfriars Restaurant in Newcastle, U.K. A lunch the following Saturday will feature the same dishes. The researchers are also putting together a translation of the cookbook under the title “Zinziber” (Latin for ginger).

While much of the food is still tasty to modern palates, not all of the medical cures would work today.

Gaspar explained, “Some of the medical recipes in this book seem to have stood the test of time, some emphatically haven’t! But we’re looking forward to finding out whether these newly-discovered food recipes have done so and whether they also possess what you might call a certain Je Ne Sais Quoi — or Quidditas, to use the Latin.”

(Image: Samuel Woods, Jacqueline Pankhurst, Samantha Ellis, Lydia Harris, Andy Hook, Daniel Duggan and Giles Gasper preparing one of the Medieval dishes; Credit: Durham University)

discovery news
APR 17, 2013 12:05 PM ET // BY JENNIFER VIEGAS

Read Full Post »

20121217-112333.jpg

Given that these cauldrons survived for over 2,000 years, it should come as no surprise that they were built to last.

Topic: English Feast

Remnants of an Iron-Age feast, including cattle skulls and 13 cauldrons, have been unearthed in Chiseldon, United Kingdom, according to a report in the latest British Archaeology
The discovery marks the largest grouping of early cauldrons ever found in Europe. One cauldron features a handle plate in the form of a cow’s head; zoomorphic decoration is otherwise unknown on a British cauldron.

“Analysis of the interiors of the cauldrons has even revealed traces of animal fats, a tantalizing suggestion that these objects might have been used in cooking and serving meat-rich stews at Iron-Age feasts over 2,000 ago,” Julia Farley, curator of European Iron Age collections at the British Museum, told Discovery News.

Farley’s colleague Jody Joy, as well as Alexandra Baldwin and Jamie Hood from the museum, are still studying the artifacts, which were found buried in a 6.6-feet-wide pit. The cauldrons were made from iron and copper alloy in the second or first century B.C.

Each was built to last, with an iron rim and band supporting circular suspension handles. The main body of the cauldrons consisted of a central band and bowl of sheet copper alloy riveted together. “The iron rim and handles gave strength and rigidity, while the copper-alloy bowl acted as an excellent heat conductor,” the researchers note.

When the cauldrons were buried, nearby Barbury Castle still might have been occupied. Another hill fort, Liddington Castle, likely had been abandoned. Nevertheless, given the possible fort protection and open space, “Chiseldon looks to be an ideal meeting place,” the researchers believe.

What the cauldrons were last used for is a bit of a mystery, but Joy and team suspect “large quantities of food and drink were probably consumed.” Feasts at the time “would have marked significant events in the calendar or special occasions, such as marriages.”

Beef was the star attraction at the last big feast involving the cauldrons, the evidence suggests. The two cattle skulls, cow cauldron decoration and traces of animal fats all theoretically point to beef.

But the experts say it’s too soon to make that conclusion.

Archaeologist Mike Pitts, who also edits British Archaeology, told Discovery News that “notwithstanding the cattle skulls, it might well have been pork. Pigs were important animals in feasting. Of course, whatever was in the cauldrons was boiled.”

While the British are now renowned for beef dishes, with the Tower of London ceremonial guardians even known as Beefeaters, beef wasn’t always so popular and widely available, Pitts said.

“Roast beef as a national dish really took root in the 18th century, which is also when ‘les rosbifs’ apparently became popular in France as a nickname for the English,” he said.

Farley agreed, saying, “Iron Age people also ate pig, sheep, and occasionally horse. Indeed, pork seems often to have been favored for feasting.”

DNA testing of the lipids in future could solve the mystery.

Original article:

Analysis by Jennifer Viegas
Wed Dec 12, 2012

news.discovery.com

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: