Posts Tagged ‘kitchen’

original article: dailysabah.com

Archaeologists seek clues of the culinary culture and eating habits of the Lydians in the excavations of the ancient city of Daskyleion, located on the shores of Lake Manyas in the Bandırma district of western Balıkesir province, using various dental tools.

The excavation team, headed by Kaan Iren – a lecturer at Muğla Sıtkı Koçman University Faculty of Letters Archaeology Department – continue their work in and around the 2,600-year-old kitchen structure found three years ago in Daskyleion. The team prefers small, sensitive instruments used in dentistry such as forceps and spatulas. With these tools, delicate finds such as pottery, fish spines, seeds and plant remains that have not been destroyed and remained intact can be carefully removed.

Iren told Anadolu Agency (AA) that they named the section where the Lydian kitchen is found “Akro Daskyleion.”

Stating that a Lydian palace was destroyed by a fire and the kitchen was affected by this, Iren said, “Our research and excavations have been continuing in this kitchen for years, without skipping any data. We continue our work by slowly digging with very sensitive tools, fine brushes and needles and documenting all data.”

Büşra Atalar Yeter, a postgraduate in charge of the Lydian kitchen excavation team, said that they investigated the relationship between the kitchen structure and other areas during their work this year. Stating that they had revealed places that could be cellars, according to their research, Atalar said: “We found burned mud brick blocks in these areas. These probably belong to a cellar destroyed by a collapsed wall because we obtained various bones and different types of seeds from the surrounding area.”

“In order to preserve the data, we have analyzed our work in detail and meticulously. Therefore, we continue to work with small dental tools,” she added.


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On this day(one day late) ten years ago…
via Human Ancestors Were Homemakers

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Pic by Adrian Miller 25-11-19 Guernsey Archive Clifton Antiquarian Club members. A rare Napoleonic era army camp has been discovered during a dig on L’Ancresse Common. Dr Donovan Hawley looking at a button that was found. (26462376)


The pair from the Clifton Antiquarian Club, based in Bristol, had been invited by the Vale Commons Council to the site on L’Ancresse common, which locally had long been thought to be a prehistoric burial mound.

However, upon excavation, the layers of history buried beneath the common proved very modern in comparison to initial assumptions.

‘We estimate the site to be between 1803 and 1812,’ said Mr Waite.

‘A piece of clay pipe was found, which is initialled on both sides. This particular clay pipe could only be manufactured between 1803 and 1815.

‘Radio carbon dating was not totally exact but provided a good indication the site was established in the first decade of the 19th century. Then a third piece of evidence, a decorated button cover which is actually quite intricately detailed and dated again from the early years of the 1800s.’

The Clifton Antiquarian Club deals predominantly with prehistoric discoveries and the unearthing of a site only just over 200 years old came as a surprise to the pair.

‘When the Commons Council invited us to see the mounds we came under the assumption that the long-held local belief the mounds were some form of Bronze Age burial site.

‘Even when we began pulling up finds of no prehistoric origin it still took about a week to re-orientate our thinking to what we were unearthing,’ said Dr Hawley.

The field kitchen sites are a rarity, with Dr Hawley’s research showing that there are just four excavated sites anywhere in the world – there are now four known to be in Guernsey.

One location was determined through the use of allied reconnaissance photography taken during the Second World War which clearly indicates the mound-shaped kitchen.

‘When we begun to excavate first we went through a lot of golf balls, found a mystery lead item which metal detectorist, Shane Le Page, posted on Facebook to find out it was a lead weight from an old wooden golf driver, and we also found a large amount of German 792mm ammunition cartridges which came from Leipzig,’ added Mr Waite.

The early 1800s were a time of heightened tension across the British Isles as an invasion from Napoleon’s forces was a constant threat.

Research found that the field kitchens were all constructed to the standard 12-hearth British Army design.

The dig found a circular ditch around eight metres across and clear signs that those constructing the catering facility had heaped the spoil in the centre which created a metre-high mound.

Around the circle 12 separate hearths would be found, lined with stone and atop the mound the dark sections of peat show where it was removed to first create the ditch.

Each hearth would feed one tent and each tent held 10 soldiers with 12 hearths that is 120 men per kitchen.

Mr Waite said that in the early 19th century there were as many as 3,000 troops garrisoned on the common camping, parading and training in preparation for Napoleonic invasion.

These were not just British troops, but Prussian, Dutch and virtually any faction opposed to Napoleon.

The pieces discovered in the dig are now being processed by Guernsey Museums where they will reside.

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 Turkey's western province of Balıkesir, (AA Photo)

Turkey’s western province of Balıkesir, (AA Photo)


AA photo

AA photo

Original Article:



Turkish archeologists in Dascylium ancient city in Turkey’s western province of Balıkesir have discovered a 2,600 year-old kitchen which belonged to the ancient Kingdom of Lydia in Anatolia.

During the excavations, kitchenware including containers, mortars (made up of basalt stone) and some fish bones and seeds were discovered in the area where the age-old kitchen was discovered.

The head of the excavation team Kaan İren, who is a lecturer in the Department of Archeology in Muğla Sıtkı Koçman University in Turkey, spoke to an Anadolu Agency correspondent and said that his team had been digging in three different points in the area.

İren explained that “the founding belong to the Bronze Age, we came across some human traces in the area.”

“It was discovered that our findings including architectural structures, tablets, cult stuff and stoneware belong to the Kingdom of Lydia and Phrygians and date back to eight century BC,” he said.

Six and a half-meter-long walls which were used to strengthen burial mound were also discovered during the excavation. İren explained that the rock tombs had been discovered in the second digging, and that they may be the first source to provide knowledge about rock tombs in ancient history.

“In another point in the area, we found two kitchens which date back the 600 and 540 BC. We found one these kitchens on the top of the other.”

“Below one was collapsed due to fire then the second one was built on it but this one also collapsed due to another fire.” İren said.

This is the first time a fully-equipped kitchen belonging to the Kingdom of Lydia has been discovered in Anatolia.


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A 2,000-year-old kitchen, which dates back to the late Roman era, has been discovered in the ancient city of Sagalassos in Turkey’s southern province of Burdur.
Excavations in the ancient city started in early June, but the discovery of the kitchen was only reported last month.

“The kitchen was completely unearthed. We will learn in great detail about the kitchen culture present in that era. This is a very detailed scientific work. Not only archaeologists, but also anthropologists, zoologists and botanists are working together [on this project],” said Professor Jereon Poblome, head of excavations.

“There are no tiles on the ground, only soil. The understanding of hygiene was different in the late Roman era. Ergonomically, it is a difficult kitchen for us [to use], but they became used to it. They use to put coal in the middle and a pot on it with bulgur and meat inside. They used to put two more pots on both sides to keep it warm. There were no ovens at that time, so they used a floor furnace and used it to cooked bread. All details [regarding the kitchen and its surroundings] will eventually come to light,” Poblome added, noting the ancient kitchen was very small compared to modern-day kitchens.
“We are mainly working on excavating baths [at the moment]. We would like to open this place to visitors because we want show the beauty this place has to offer. Our works in the upper agora have been continuing for many years. We estimate that they will end in 2017-2018,” he said.

Monumental city

Since 1990, Marc Waelkens of the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium has been leading a major excavation project at the Sagalassos site.

The first survey documents 1,000 years of occupation – from Alexander the Great to the 7th century – as well as the changing settlement patterns, vegetation history, farming practices and the changes in the climate in the area during the last 10,000

Source: Hurriyet Daily News [August 21, 2014]
Posted by Tann

Original article:

A kitchen was completely unearthed in the ancient city of Sagalassos. ‘It is very small compared to modern-day kitchens,’ says Jereon Poblome [Credit: AA]

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The item on the kings kitchen is about 12 paragraphs down.

A 2,100-year-old mausoleum built for a king named Liu Fei has been discovered in modern-day Xuyi County in Jiangsu, China, archaeologists report.

Liu Fei died in 128 B.C. during the 26th year of his rule over a kingdom named Jiangdu, which was part of the Chinese empire.

Although the mausoleum had been plundered, archaeologists found that it still contained more than 10,000 artifacts, including treasures made of gold, silver, bronze, jade and lacquer. They also found severallife-size chariot and dozens of smaller chariots.

Excavated between 2009 and 2011, the mausoleum contains “three main tombs, 11 attendant tombs, two chariot-and-horse pits, two weaponry pits” and the remains of an enclosure wall that originally encompassed the complex, a team of Nanjing Museum archaeologists said in an article recently published in the journal Chinese Archaeology. The wall was originally about 1,608 feet (490 meters) long on each side. [See Photos of the Ancient Mausoleum and Artifacts]

The archaeologists said their work was a “rescue excavation,” as the site was threatened by quarrying.

Liu Fei’s tomb

A large earthen mound — extending more than 492 feet (150 meters) — once covered the king’s tomb, the archaeologists say. The tomb has two long shafts leading to a burial chamber that measured about 115 feet (35 m) long by 85 feet (26 m) wide.

When archaeologists entered the burial chamber they found that Liu Fei was provided with a vast assortment of goods for the afterlife.
2,100-Year-Old King’s Mausoleum Discovered in China

A 2,100-year-old mausoleum built for a king named Liu Fei has been discovered in modern-day Xuyi County in Jiangsu, China, archaeologists report.

Liu Fei died in 128 B.C. during the 26th year of his rule over a kingdom named Jiangdu, which was part of the Chinese empire.

Although the mausoleum had been plundered, archaeologists found that it still contained more than 10,000 artifacts, including treasures made of gold, silver, bronze, jade and lacquer. They also found severallife-size chariot and dozens of smaller chariots.

Excavated between 2009 and 2011, the mausoleum contains “three main tombs, 11 attendant tombs, two chariot-and-horse pits, two weaponry pits” and the remains of an enclosure wall that originally encompassed the complex, a team of Nanjing Museum archaeologists said in an article recently published in the journal Chinese Archaeology. The wall was originally about 1,608 feet (490 meters) long on each side. [See Photos of the Ancient Mausoleum and Artifacts]

The archaeologists said their work was a “rescue excavation,” as the site was threatened by quarrying.

Liu Fei’s tomb

A large earthen mound — extending more than 492 feet (150 meters) — once covered the king’s tomb, the archaeologists say. The tomb has two long shafts leading to a burial chamber that measured about 115 feet (35 m) long by 85 feet (26 m) wide.

When archaeologists entered the burial chamber they found that Liu Fei was provided with a vast assortment of goods for the afterlife.

Such goods would have been fitting for such a “luxurious” ruler. “Liu Fei admired daring and physical prowess. He built palaces and observation towers and invited to his court all the local heroes and strong men from everywhere around,” wrote ancient historian Sima Qian (145-86 B.C.), as translated by Burton Watson. “His way of life was marked by extreme arrogance and luxury.”

His burial chamber is divided into a series of corridors and small chambers. The chamber contained numerous weapons, including iron swords, spearheads, crossbow triggers, halberds (a two-handled pole weapon), knives and more than 20 chariot models (not life-size).

The archaeologists also found musical instruments, including chime bells, zither bridges (the zither is a stringed instrument) and jade tuning pegs decorated with a dragon design.

Liu Fei’s financial needs were not neglected, as the archaeologists also found an ancient “treasury” holding more than 100,000 banliang coins, which contain a square hole in the center and were created by the first emperor of Chinaafter the country was unified. After the first emperor died in 210 B.C., banliang coins eventually fell out of use. [Photos: Ancient Chinese Warriors Protect Secret Tomb of First Emperor]

In another section of the burial chamber archaeologists found “utilities such as goose-shaped lamps, five-branched lamps, deer-shaped lamps, lamps with a chimney or with a saucer ….” They also found a silver basin containing the inscription of “the office of the Jiangdu Kingdom.”

The king was also provided with a kitchen and food for the afterlife. Archaeologists found an area in the burial chamber containing bronze cauldrons, tripods, steamers, wine vessels, cups and pitchers. They also found seashells, animal bones and fruit seeds. Several clay inscriptions found held the seal of the “culinary officer of the Jiangdu Kingdom.”

Sadly, the king’s coffins had been damaged and the body itself was gone. “Near the coffins many jade pieces and fragments, originally parts of the jade burial suit, were discovered. These pieces also indicate that the inner coffin, originally lacquered and inlaid with jade plaques, was exquisitely manufactured,” the team writes.

The adjacent tomb

A second tomb, which archaeologists call “M2,” was found adjacent to the king’s tomb. Although archaeologists don’t know who was buried there it would have been someone of high status.

“Although it was looted, archaeologists still discovered pottery vessels, lacquer wares, bronzes, gold and silver objects, and jades, about 200 sets altogether,” the team writes.

“The ‘jade coffin’ from M2 is the most significant discovery. Although the central chamber was looted, the structure of the jade coffin is still intact, which is the only undamaged jade coffin discovered in the history of Chinese archaeology,” writes the team.

More chariots and weapons

In addition to the chariot models and weapons found in the king’s tomb, the mausoleum also contains two chariot-and-horse pits and two weapons pits holding swords, halberds, crossbow triggers and shields. [In Photos: Early Bronze Age Chariot Burial]

In one chariot-and-horse pit the archaeologists found five life-size chariots, placed east to west. “The lacquer and wooden parts of the chariots were all exquisitely decorated and well preserved,” the team writes. Four of the chariots had bronze parts gilded with gold, while one chariot had bronze parts inlaid with gold and silver.

The second chariot pit contained about 50 model chariots. “Since a large quantity of iron ji (Chinese halberds) and iron swords were found, these were likely models of battle chariots,” the team writes.

Attendant tombs

A series of 11 attendant tombs were found to the north of the king’s tomb. By the second century B.C. human sacrifice had fallen out of use in China so the people buried in them probably were not killed when the king died.

Again, the archaeologists found rich burial goods. One tomb contained two gold belt hooks, one in the shape of a wild goose and the other a rabbit.

Another tomb contained artifacts engraved with the surname “Nao.” Ancient records indicate that Liu Fei had a consort named “Lady Nao,” whose beauty was so great that she would go on to be a consort for his son Liu Jian and then for another king named Liu Pengzu. Tomb inscriptions suggest the person buried in the tomb was related to her, the team says.

Kingdom’s end

During the second century B.C. China was one of the largest, and wealthiest, empires on Earth, however, the power of its emperor was not absolute. During this time a number of kings co-existed under the control of the emperor. These kings could amass great wealth and, at times, they rebelled against the emperor.

About seven years after Liu Fei’s death, the Chinese emperor seized control of Jiangdu Kingdom, because Liu Jian, who was Liu Fei’s son and successor, allegedly plotted against the emperor.

Ancient writers tried to justify the emperor’s actions, claiming that, in addition to rebellion, Liu Jian had committed numerous other crimes and engaged in bizarre behavior that included having a sexual orgy with 10 women in a tent above his father’s tomb.

The journal article was originally published, in Chinese, in the journal Kaogu, by archaeologists Li Zebin, Chen Gang and Sheng Zhihan. It was translated into English by Lai Guolong and published in the most recent edition of the journal Chinese Archaeology.

Follow us @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on Live Science.

Original article:

Archaeologists in China have discovered a mausoleum, dating back over 2,100 years, that contains three main tombs, including the tomb of Liu Fei (shown at bottom), the ruler of the Jiangdu kingdom in China.
Credit: Photo courtesy Chinese Archaeology

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Overall site photo of the kitchen excavation area. The post-1775 kitchen, the kitchen most visitors see today, is the white building adjacent to the excavation area. Courtesy Mount Vernon Preservation

Topic: Washington’s kitchen
Mount Vernon, Virginia — Anyone visiting George Washington’s Mount Vernon plantation estate today couldn’t possibly miss, among other things, this U.S. Founding Father’s large, white, well-appointed mansion house and its associated outbuildings. It has graced post cards for decades. It represents his home as it looked in its prime, as he lived in it following his terms as the Nation’s first President.

What visitors don’t usually see, however, are the remains of a different estate lying just below the surface — different because, in 1775, Washington embarked on a major campaign to renovate and remodel the Mansion, outbuildings, and even the landscape, transforming it to the place visitors see restored today. Now, archaeologists are exposing part of the hidden pre-1775 footprint, more particularly the foundations of an early pre-Revolutionary War kitchen adjacent to the west side of the Mansion.

“We uncovered sections of the north, east, and south brick wall foundations of the first-period kitchen and the north cheek of its chimney base,” writes Luke Pecoraro, Assistant Director for Archaeological Research at Mount Vernon in a report. Other artifacts included fragments of white salt-glazed stoneware, a type of ceramic ware imported directly from England and used at Mount Vernon in the late 1750’s, and hand-painted pearlware, a type of ceramic ware that is not documented in the orders of imports to the estate, and thus could only have been revealed through archaeological investigation.

Archaeologists know, based on the estate inventory taken after Washington’s older half-brother Lawrence’s death in 1752, that there were four pre-1775 outbuildings, which included an earlier storehouse, dairy, kitchen, and washhouse. In conjunction with the archaeological record, this has defined an approximate visual concept of the earlier Mount Vernon Mansion complex. To further investigate and elucidate this earlier construction, Mount Vernon’s Historic Preservation and Collections Department, in conjunction with the Historic Preservation Program in the Department of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at the University of Maryland (UMD), organized a field school led by archaeologists and consisting of students representing 8 U.S. universities. Says Pecoraro: “The focus of the summer [2013] field work was the 1775 kitchen, offering an opportunity for us to explore the first generation of outbuildings at Mount Vernon, specifically an early kitchen and dairy, that George Washington inherited from his brother Lawrence and used for approximately 20 years before tearing them down to enlarge the Mansion, build a new kitchen, and connect the two with a covered archway.”

“A single test unit was opened for the dairy, where we encountered the intact southwest corner of the building’s sandstone foundations,” added Pecoraro. “Artifacts found in the eighteenth-century dairy destruction rubble included fragments of ceramic vessels, plaster from the interior walls, and a decorated rim to a wine glass bearing a pattern that was identical to a sherd recovered from the near-by South Grove midden.”

The South Grove midden was a refuse pit used by the Washington family and enslaved families during the late 18th century. Located near the family kitchen, it was excavated by archaeologists from 1990 through 1994, resulting in the recovery of nearly 300,000 artifacts.
“Our final discovery [for the 2013 season] was the cobblestone surface of what we believe to be George Washington’s circular driveway,” Pecoraro continued. “In some places it is less than an inch below the modern road surface. These cobblestones had been documented in two previous excavations.”

For mor information link to mountvernon.org

Original article:
popular archaeology
Dec4, 2013

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Topic: Midden at Mount Vernon

Archaeologists struck the motherlode of artifacts over two decades ago near George Washington’s Mount Vernon mansion house. Now the treasures are online for all to see.

Most people wouldn’t even think about an 18th century refuse pit. But for archaeologists, it can be a veritable goldmine of information about the past. And for archaeological investigators at George Washington’s Mount Vernon home and estate near the Virginia banks of the Potomac river in 1990, no pile of garbage was as precious as the one located just south of the famous restored mansion house in the area historically known as the south grove.

Designated the South Grove Midden (a “midden” in archaeological parlance is another name for a trash dump), clues of its existence actually first emerged in 1948, when members of the Mount Vernon grounds crew excavated a hole in the area to plant a holly tree. A number of artifacts dating to the eighteenth century were recovered, telltale clues that the south grove area could be the location of midden deposits formed during George Washington’s lifetime. This would be no surprise, as the area was near the Washington household kitchen and it was common in the 18th century to dispose of household refuse near where it was generated. Spots not far from the back doors of kitchens were considered prime dumping grounds back then.

But it wasn’t until 1990 when archaeologists began to seriously focus on the spot, after a grounds crew again encountered historic deposits while constructing an irrigation system. From 1990 through 1994, full-scale excavations (see image right) recovered nearly 300,000 artifacts, an unprecedented array of household items deposited by the Washington family and enslaved families over several decades in the 18th century.

“The South Grove Midden collection represents the largest and most significant collection of artifacts excavated to date associated with the domestic lives of the Washington households,” says Eleanor Breen, Deputy Director of Archaeology at Mount Vernon. “One evocative artifact after another – from the unique to the prosaic – tells the interconnected stories of Mount Vernon plantation’s earliest residents: Lawrence and Anne Fairfax Washington; George Washington in his bachelorhood and as a newlywed; and the enslaved Africans and African Americans who labored in the mansion and outbuildings.”

Thus as any archaeologist would say, the artifacts in themselves are not the real treasure. It is the information that can be gleaned from them. The South Grove Midden artifacts have afforded scholars and the public alike with a remarkable window on life on George Washington’s estate during the period of its occupation by the Washington family from about 1735 to 1858, and evidence of activities there before and after that period.

Nothing spoke to this more when, in January 2013, the most significant finds were highlighted in a searchable online database of no less than 711 key objects, including photographs, detailed summaries, and catalogue information, all interfaced with documentary and thematic material information that in essence makes them accessible to any visitor. But, says Breen, “the Mount Vernon Midden website is more than an e-museum, it’s a digital humanities effort to present the individual artifacts in layers of both archaeological and historical context.”

“In envisioning and designing the website with Mark Freeman of Stories Past, our goal was to reach a broad audience – from the archaeology enthusiast to the scholar of material culture. The website is structured like a pyramid with the individual object catalogue records at the top (with professional quality photographs that can be zoomed in on for greater detail and unique narrative text explaining the significance of the artifact), more extensive content in the middle (in the form of summaries of artifact sub-assemblages and thematic essays on groupings of artifacts), and the complete artifact catalogue at the base (accessed via http://www.daacs.org).”

To give an example of just one individual object record, one artifact, known to archaeological enthusiasts and scholars of George Washington as the George Washington trunk plate, is pictured at the website as object no. 2921. It represents both an affirmation of the historicity of George Washington’s experience during the Revolutionary War as well as tangible material witness to his genteel status in 18th century American society:

“Other artifacts excavated from the soil layers of the midden give us pause to consider how Lawrence and George Washington and other elite planters afforded this burgeoning genteel lifestyle,” adds Breen. “A singular artifact called a denier gauge [pictured as object no. 2922 in the database], a small magnifying glass that counted threads per quarter inch of cloth, focuses our attention on the enslaved men and women upon whose labor refined styles of life were based. At the beginning of Washington’s tenure at Mount Vernon, he oversaw approximately 30 Africans and Afro-Virginians, a community whose numbers would increase to over 300 at the time of Washington’s death in 1799. These enslaved individuals worked for the profit of their owners plowing the fields, forging the iron, cooking the meals, and sewing or weaving the cloth – the quality of which was measured and checked by Martha Washington using the denier gauge.”

The database contains much more than objects excavated from the Midden. Also documented are 3,839 invoices and orders, described through both picture and narrative. They constitute the record of his economic life before the Revolutionary War, from 1754 to 1773, including items such as fabrics, seeds, medicines, shoes, foodstuffs, and plantation tools shipped to him on a total of 26 vessels during that time period. Along with the other objects, Mount Vernon archaeologists say that these invoices and orders have helped, and will continue to be a key, to improving our understanding of material culture, consumerism, and economics during 18th century colonial America.

“The South Grove Midden and associated documentary evidence in the form of George Washington’s orders for goods from England and inventories of a local store in the town of Colchester provides the opportunity to study a dynamic period in American history,” says Breen. “What makes the 40-year period before the American Revolution unique is that access to consumer goods appears to have opened up for larger segments of the colonial population through a more sophisticated and far-reaching system of distribution for imported items – an event described as the consumer revolution. The artifacts and documents associated with the site offer an opportunity to explore this transformation through material culture.”

To view artifacts go to mount vernon midden.org

Original article:
popular archaeology
September 6, 2013


[Recovered from the South Grove Midden] This oval copper alloy plate, engraved “Gen: Washington,” is identical to a plate affixed to a trunk in the Mount Vernon collection which George Washington is known to have purchased secondhand on April 4, 1776, in Boston, soon after he took up his duties as general of the Continental Army. The plate on the trunk was placed over the initials of the previous owner, a Boston merchant named John Head. Throughout the Revolutionary War, the security of his official correspondence and orders was a perpetual concern for General George Washington. In the intervening weeks between the British evacuation of Boston and his departure to defend Manhattan, Washington obtained the travelling trunk to contain the increasing number of official papers in his possession. The trunk was part of General Washington’s baggage throughout the war, returning with him to Mount Vernon when he retired from military service in 1783. Given the similarity of the two specimens, the excavated plate almost surely had the same origin. The original trunk was made of rawhide, wood, leather and lined with linen. Only the metal hardware (tacks, hinges, and this plate) would survive archaeologically.

This is one of the few artifacts that we have found with George Washington’s name engraved upon it. The other object excavated from the South Grove Midden that can be linked directly back to Washington is the fragment of a silver scabbard collar engraved with part of his monogram (2696). Wine bottle seals with the crest, name, or initials of their past owners are encountered in the archaeological record at Mount Vernon and on other historic sites of the colonial period; however, it appears that George Washington did not have his own. The significance of these formally marked objects relates to an expression of gentility and status. For example, pewter dishes were widely available in the eighteenth century to consumers. However, a simple pewter plate could be elevated and distinguished with the placement of a family crest, as George Washington requested be done on a set of 96 pewter dishes in 1759.
— Object Detail from the Mount Vernon Midden Project website.
Photo courtesy Mount Vernon Preservation.

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The findings were cleaned at the excavation sites in order to take them to inventory. Excavations also continue in the water distribution pools. Water grooves, ceramics have also been found. AA photos

Topic: Ottoman kitchen

The Edirne Palace restorations are continuing with new cultural assets due to recent excavations. The excavations reveal Ottoman cuisine culture

The restoration of Edirne Palace, where Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II planned his conquest of Istanbul and which was set on fire by Governor Cemil Pasha before the Russian occupation in 1878, is continuing, daily Sabah has reported.

Mustafa Özer, the head of Edirne “Yeni Saray” excavations, has announced that items such as kitchen utensils that have been found in recent excavations shed light on the Ottoman cuisine culture, referring to Matbah-ı Amire (palace kitchens).

Özer said the excavations in the area between the Matbah-ı Amire and the Tuna River have been ongoing since 2009.

“We think the kitchen utensils that have been found are mostly associated with the Ottoman palace’s kitchen, the Matbah-ı Amire. A huge spoon from the 15th century drew our attention most,” he said, adding that the restoration, documentation and conservation were still continuing alongside the excavations.

The findings were cleaned at the excavation sites in order to take them to inventory.

Excavations also continue in the “su maksemi” (water distribution pools), which was used during the Ottoman period. Some pieces of marble epigraphs that gave clues as to the year of construction of the palace have recently been found. “Our aim is to complete the other pieces of the epigraph to find out which part it belongs to,” Özer said, adding that their expectation was to complete the excavations by the end of September.

Construction of Edirne Palace

The construction of the Edirne Palace began with the order of Sultan Murad II in 1450 on an island between the two reaches of the River Tuna. When the sultan died, construction was left unfinished for a short period time. It was finished by Mehmet the Conqueror and was given the name Saray-ı Cedid-i Amire. In later years, the palace became a magnificent structure, with many additional sections built during the reigns of the Süleyman I (the Magnificent) and Mehmet IV.

However, the palace which was used as an arsenal in the 1874 Ottoman-Russian War, was blasted with the order of Cemil Pasha, the governor of Edirne before the Russian occupation in 1878, in order to prevent the Russians from taking possession of the arsenal. The palace includes 72 different structures with 117 rooms, 18 Turkish baths, eight small mosques, 17 gates, 13 cellars, and 14 mansions. It was ruined almost completely during the 1878 Russian occupation. Only remnants of the Adalet Mansion, the Kum Mansion Bath, the Cihannüma Mansion (the office of sultans), the Matbah-ı Amire, and the Bab-üs Saade (gate) have survived until today.

Restoration work began in 2009 in the kitchen of the palace, and in 2011 in the Kum Mansion Bath, used by Hürrem Sultan. The restoration of the latter has been finished but the kitchen’s restoration has been postponed due to adverse weather conditions in the region. It is scheduled to be completed by the end of the summer.

Water grooves, ceramics and kitchen tools left behind by the Ottoman army in the Balkan Wars have also been found.

Original article:

July 26, 2013

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Preservation Virginia Archaeologist Danny Schmidt uses a trowel to point at a cluster of scutes in the floor of the common kitchen. (Photo by Brittany Voll/WYDaily)

Topic: Jamestowne find

Archaeologists at James Fort are finding the remains of dozens of sturgeon in the same cellar they discovered “Jane”, the 14-year-old cannibalism victim.

The sturgeon scutes, which are pieces of pyramid-shaped bone covered in pores that line sturgeon bodies, are evidence the settlers brought the large fish into this kitchen pit, a room dug into the ground about 5 feet deep. The kitchen pit was about 50-100 feet away from the water, and sturgeon of that time weighed up to 800 pounds compared to the average 300 pounds of the endangered sturgeon swimming in the James River today.

The latest discovery shows the scutes in the common kitchen were deposited while the kitchen was still in use.

To date, the largest deposit of scutes at Historic Jamestowne had been found in the John Smith well, merely feet from where the current scutes are being discovered. Thousands of scutes were found in the well, which had been filled with trash, to account for at least 34 different sturgeon.

Dr. Matthew Balazik, a post-graduate researcher at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Inger and Walter Rice Center for Environmental Economics, is confident the number of sturgeon represented by the scutes found in the kitchen will be at least the same number found in the well, but will likely exceed it.

Balazik, who has been called the “sturgeon whisperer,” is now working with Jamestown Rediscovery archaeologists to determine additional information on the new sturgeon scutes. Balazik previously worked with the archaeological team on the bones found in the well.

Continued excavation of the L-shaped cellar that provided a final resting place to “Jane” led to the latest discovery. At Historic Jamestowne, Jane’s remains were discovered among a trash pile, which was established in a common kitchen area after the kitchen was no longer used, likely in the spring of 1610, according to Preservation Virginia Senior Staff Archaeologist Daniel Schmidt.

Dr. Matt Balazik holds onto a sturgeon in the James River on a recent tagging expedition. (Photo by Martin Balazik)

Now that the trash layers have been removed, archaeologists are uncovering the layers from the time the kitchen was in use, likely in 1609. The scutes are littering the kitchen floor in high numbers. The walls that establish the current pit as they wait to be excavated further also show a number of scutes.

“What we have here is basically a layer of sturgeon remains,” Schmidt said.

On two sides of the kitchen are large brick ovens; once excavated they’ll be igloo-shaped cavities. Covering the floor of the kitchen are a layer of ash and the sturgeon scutes, as well as pieces of pottery and a few cannon balls.

Along with scutes, pieces of bone called fin spines, which connects fins to a fish body similar to a human shoulder, have been found.

The spines can be cut to reveal a number of rings that tell how old the fish was, just like tree rings.

“These are like gold,” Balazik said.

A sturgeon only has two of the shoulder-like spine bones.

Additionally, a piece of bone from near the sturgeon throat has been found. It has not yet been excavated but is visible in the top layer of dirt in the kitchen floor. Unlike the completely porous scutes, the throat bone has a porous section below a smoother semi-circle shaped section of bone. Because of the location on the fish’s body, it’s likely the sturgeon were being butchered in the kitchen.

On some of the scutes found in the kitchen, burnt sections or ash is found. At this point, it’s unclear why the sturgeon were being butchered in the kitchen, especially when considering the length and weight of the fish.

Balazik has found scutes of modern James River sturgeon, the largest of which was belonged to an eight-foot sturgeon.

In the scutes excavated so far, the size of a piece of a lateral scute – a scute that would have run down the side of the sturgeon — has led Balazik to believe it was from a female fish that was a little more than 11 feet long and likely weighed 450-500 pounds.

“That’s a realm we’ve never seen,” Balazik said. He explained the lateral scute piece, which is about 4 inches long, may not have been the biggest scute that was on the fish.

Writing from John Smith indicate the sturgeon were a staple for settlers, primarily in 1607 and 1609.

“We had more sturgeon than could be devoured by dog and man, of which the industrious by drying and pounding, mingled with caviar, sorrel, and other wholesome herbs, would make bread and good meat,” Smith wrote in early 1609.

Schmidt thinks the scutes being found are from the fall of 1609, the time that led into the Starving Time—the winter of 1609-10 when Jane was cannibalized by the settlers. Balazik will hopefully be able to determine whether the scutes are from the spring or fall.

Sturgeon “run” – return from the ocean to spawn– in spring and fall; they weren’t around in the winter to allay starvation during the winter of 1609-10. Also, because the fish were so large and are covered in bony scutes rather than slippery scales, the settlers’ nets weren’t ideal for catching them. Written records show the fishing nets had rotted away by the time Lord De La Warr, Thomas West, arrived at the fort at the end of the Starving Time.

Original article:

July 18, 2013 By Brittany Voll


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