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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:

hurrieyedailynews
July 26, 2013

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Topic Stone Age Wine

ELAZIG, Turkey — There are easier places to make wine than the spectacular, desolate landscapes of southeast Turkey, but DNA analysis suggests it is here that Stone Age farmers first domesticated the wine grape.
Today Turkey is home to archaeological sites as well as vineyards of ancient grape varieties like Bogazkere and Okuzgozu, which drew the curiosity of the Swiss botanist and grape DNA sleuth Jose Vouillamoz, for the clues they may offer to the origin of European wine.
Together with the biomolecular archaeologist Patrick McGovern, Vouillamoz has spent nearly a decade studying the world’s cultivated and wild vines.
“We wanted to collect samples from wild and cultivated grape vines from the Near East — that means southeastern Anatolia, Armenia and Georgia — to see in which place the wild grape was, genetically speaking, linked the closest to the cultivated variety.”
“It turned out to be southeastern Anatolia,” the Asian part of modern Turkey, said Vouillamoz, speaking at the EWBC wine conference in the Turkish city of Izmir this month. “We propose the hypothesis that it is most likely the first place of grape vine domestication.”
McGovern’s lab at the University of Pennsylvania Museum also provided archaeological evidence of wine’s Anatolian roots after analysing residues of liquid recovered from vessels thousands of years old.
Author of “Uncorking the Past” and “Ancient Wine”, McGovern used a sensitive chemical technique to look for significant amounts of tartaric acid — for which grapes are the only source in the Middle East.
While Georgia, Armenia and Iran all played a role in ancient winemaking, preliminary evidence from pottery and even older clay mineral containers, seems to place the very first domestication of the wild Eurasian grape Vitis vinifera in southeastern Anatolia sometime between 5,000 and 8,500 BC, McGovern said.
Southeast Anatolia is part of the Fertile Crescent, the name given to a vast area stretching through modern-day Iraq and Iran to the Nile Valley in the south, widely seen as the birthplace of the eight so-called “founder” crops — from chickpea to barley — that are the world’s first known domesticated plants.
Evidence found by the research duo suggests that for wine too, hundreds of today’s grapes find their roots in “founder” varieties descended from the wild grapes of the region.
Through DNA profiling, Vouillamoz says he has isolated 13 of these “founder” grapes by tracing the family trees of European fine wine grapes.
He believes farmers across southeast Anatolia or the Near East started domesticating the wild Vitis vinifera grape around the same time — giving rise to the 13 “founders”.
This, he says, debunks the long-held notion that most Western European grapes were introduced independently from the Middle East, Near East or Egypt, Turkey or Greece, at different times and in different places.
One of the “founders”, Gouais Blanc, is a good example.
“He gave birth to at least 80 varieties in western Europe, including Chardonnay, Gamay, Furmint, and Riesling,” said Vouillamoz, who recently co-authored, “Wine Grapes,” a monumental opus on 1,368 vine varieties. “I call it the Casanova of grapes.”
Standing in a gully between Elazig and Diyarbakir, Daniel O’Donnell, chief winemaker at the Turkish winery Kayra, gestured to the great expanse of mountains where wild grape vines still grow in gullies and washes.
“It is a wine-making pilgrimage to come back here and find, genetically, 8,000, 9,000-year old vines,” said O’Donnell, who arrived here from California in 2006.
“It’s mind-blowing to be a Napa guy paying attention to the fine details, the minutiae of wine making, and come here.”
But this heritage is now under threat.
In the Kurdish Diyarbakir region, where women on subsistence farms tend the vines and goats do the pruning, phylloxera is killing vineyards that have not been grafted onto disease-resistant rootstock.
“Unfortunately, phylloxera has arrived here. Every year we see the vines die,” said Murat Uner, wine production manager at Kayra.
Phylloxera annihilated vineyards in Europe in the late 19th century. Wild vines are somewhat protected by their eco-system, but cultivated vines are extremely vulnerable.
“We explain it to them, but they don’t want to listen,” says Uner.
The frustration is shared by winemakers who are trying to develop the Turkish wine industry, and experts who fear the loss of an irreplaceable genetic diversity within these ancient varieties.
“They are incredibly lucky to have this,” said Vouillamoz. “It has been lost in many places.”

Original article:
By Suzanne Mustacich
google.com/ hosted news

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Topic: Thanksgiving

What Was on the Menu at the First Thanksgiving?

Today, the traditional Thanksgiving dinner includes any number of dishes: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, candied yams, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. But if one were to create a historically accurate feast, consisting of only those foods that historians are certain were served at the so-called “first Thanksgiving,” there would be slimmer pickings. “Wildfowl was there. Corn, in grain form for bread or for porridge, was there. Venison was there,” says Kathleen Wall. “These are absolutes.”

Two primary sources—the only surviving documents that reference the meal—confirm that these staples were part of the harvest celebration shared by the Pilgrims and Wampanoag at Plymouth Colony in 1621. Edward Winslow, an English leader who attended, wrote home to a friend:

“Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain and others.”

William Bradford, the governor Winslow mentions, also described the autumn of 1621, adding, “And besides waterfowl there was great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison, etc. Besides, they had about a peck a meal a week to a person, or now since harvest, Indian corn to that proportion.”

But determining what else the colonists and Wampanoag might have eaten at the 17th-century feast takes some digging. To form educated guesses, Wall, a foodways culinarian at Plimoth Plantation, a living history museum in Plymouth, Massachusetts, studies cookbooks and descriptions of gardens from the period, archaeological remains such as pollen samples that might clue her in to what the colonists were growing.

Our discussion begins with the bird. Turkey was not the centerpiece of the meal, as it is today, explains Wall. Though it is possible the colonists and American Indians cooked wild turkey, she suspects that goose or duck was the wildfowl of choice. In her research, she has found that swan and passenger pigeons would have been available as well. “Passenger pigeons—extinct in the wild for over a century now—were so thick in the 1620s, they said you could hear them a quarter-hour before you saw them,” says Wall. “They say a man could shoot at the birds in flight and bring down 200.”

Small birds were often spit-roasted, while larger birds were boiled. “I also think some birds—in a lot of recipes you see this—were boiled first, then roasted to finish them off. Or things are roasted first and then boiled,” says Wall. “The early roasting gives them nicer flavor, sort of caramelizes them on the outside and makes the broth darker.”

It is possible that the birds were stuffed, though probably not with bread. (Bread, made from maize not wheat, was likely a part of the meal, but exactly how it was made is unknown.) The Pilgrims instead stuffed birds with chunks of onion and herbs. “There is a wonderful stuffing for goose in the 17th-century that is just shelled chestnuts,” says Wall. “I am thinking of that right now, and it is sounding very nice.” Since the first Thanksgiving was a three-day celebration, she adds, “I have no doubt whatsoever that birds that are roasted one day, the remains of them are all thrown in a pot and boiled up to make broth the next day. That broth thickened with grain to make a pottage.”

In addition to wildfowl and deer, the colonists and Wampanoag probably ate eels and shellfish, such as lobster, clams and mussels. “They were drying shellfish and smoking other sorts of fish,” says Wall.

According to the culinarian, the Wampanoag, like most eastern woodlands people, had a “varied and extremely good diet.” The forest provided chestnuts, walnuts and beechnuts. “They grew flint corn (multicolored Indian corn), and that was their staple. They grew beans, which they used from when they were small and green until when they were mature,” says Wall. “They also had different sorts of pumpkins or squashes.”

As we are taught in school, the Indians showed the colonists how to plant native crops. “The English colonists plant gardens in March of 1620 and 1621,” says Wall. “We don’t know exactly what’s in those gardens. But in later sources, they talk about turnips, carrots, onions, garlic and pumpkins as the sorts of things that they were growing.”

Of course, to some extent, the exercise of reimagining the spread of food at the 1621 celebration becomes a process of elimination. “You look at what an English celebration in England is at this time. What are the things on the table? You see lots of pies in the first course and in the second course, meat and fish pies. To cook a turkey in a pie was not terribly uncommon,” says Wall. “But it is like, no, the pastry isn’t there.” The colonists did not have butter and wheat flour to make crusts for pies and tarts. (That’s right: No pumpkin pie!) “That is a blank in the table, for an English eye. So what are they putting on instead? I think meat, meat and more meat,” says Wall.

Meat without potatoes, that is. White potatoes, originating in South America, and sweet potatoes, from the Caribbean, had yet to infiltrate North America. Also, there would have been no cranberry sauce. It would be another 50 years before an Englishman wrote about boiling cranberries and sugar into a “Sauce to eat with. . . .Meat.” Says Wall: “If there was beer, there were only a couple of gallons for 150 people for three days.” She thinks that to wash it all down the English and Wampanoag drank water.

All this, naturally, begs a follow-up question. So how did the Thanksgiving menu evolve into what it is today?

Wall explains that the Thanksgiving holiday, as we know it, took root in the mid-19th century. At this time, Edward Winslow’s letter, printed in a pamphlet called Mourt’s Relation, and Governor Bradford’s manuscript, titled Of Plimoth Plantation, were rediscovered and published. Boston clergyman Alexander Young printed Winslow’s letter in his Chronicles of the Pilgrim Fathers, and in the footnotes to the resurrected letter, he somewhat arbitrarily declared the feast the first Thanksgiving. (Wall and others at Plimoth Plantation prefer to call it “the harvest celebration in 1621.”) There was nostalgia for colonial times, and by the 1850s, most states and territories were celebrating Thanksgiving.

Sarah Josepha Hale, editor of the popular women’s magazine Godey’s Lady’s Book, , a real trendsetter for running a household, was a leading voice in establishing Thanksgiving as an annual event. Beginning in 1827, Hale petitioned 13 presidents, the last of whom was Abraham Lincoln. She pitched her idea to President Lincoln as a way to unite the country in the midst of the Civil War, and, in 1863, he made Thanksgiving a national holiday.

Throughout her campaign, Hale printed Thanksgiving recipes and menus in Godey’s Lady’s Book. She also published close to a dozen cookbooks. “She is really planting this idea in the heads of lots of women that this is something they should want to do,” says Wall. “So when there finally is a national day of Thanksgiving, there is a whole body of women who are ready for it, who know what to do because she told them. A lot of the food that we think of—roast turkey with sage dressing, creamed onions, mashed turnips, even some of the mashed potato dishes, which were kind of exotic then—are there.”

By Megan Gambino
Smithsonian.com, November 21, 2011
smithsonian magazine

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Topic: Nomad to Farmer

Australian archaeologists are embarking on a study of one of the earliest ever records of a key transformation in human history: the end of the nomadic lifestyle.

The team, headed by Dr Andrew Fairbairn from the University of Queensland, will join with a British team next week to continue work on the excavation of a 10,000-year-old early village site in central Turkey.

The site, known as Boncuklu Höyük, is one of the earliest village sites found from the period when hunter-gatherer societies began to leave their nomadic lifestyle and take up farming.

Villagers lived in oval-shaped, mud brick houses and hunted, farmed and traded with other local communities on an area of wetlands which is now a dusty plain near the city of Konya.

“It’s come to be one of the key transformations in human history because, basically, the development of our civilisations is routed in a lot of these social and economic transformations that happened around about this time,” Dr Fairbairn told ABC News Online.

He says the site is one of the earliest found just outside the key Fertile Crescent area of eastern Turkey, Syria and Jordan where it is thought farming first originated.

The site is expected to help archaeologists understand how humans adapted to a sedentary lifestyle and how it spread across Europe.

“This farming lifestyle then spreads around the world – it goes across Europe and it goes across Asia,” Dr Fairbairn said.

“And so where Boncuklu is is that sort of first area where you have this spread of this new lifestyle.

“We’ve been very interested to find out whether it was, as it’s always been suspected, due to farming people moving from this area of origin, the Fertile Crescent … or whether it was due to the people who already lived there, lay hunter-gatherer societies, actually starting to develop and take up new crops and new ways of life.

“So Boncuklu is one of those very rare sites that allows us to investigate that time period.”

Boncuklu Höyük, which means “beady mound”, was discovered about a decade ago by the head of the British excavation team, Dr Douglas Baird, who had worked on the nearby, famous village site of Çatalhöyük.

Dr Fairbairn says Dr Baird was trying to place the excavation of Çatalhöyük in its regional context and, in typical archaeological fashion, found Boncuklu, which is 1,000 years older, on the last day of a field survey.

Named after the high number of stone and clay notched beads found in the mound, Boncuklu first underwent excavation in 2006.

Dr Fairbairn says Boncuklu has some things in common with Çatalhöyük, but in other ways it is more “alien”.

“It’s an interesting story because Çatalhöyük in a lot of ways is sort of bizarre,” he said.

“It’s different, but there’s something tangible and you can kind of understand it because of these rectangular houses and rooms and you can see fireplaces and things.

“Boncuklu is just a little bit more way out. It’s these funny little huts. For me it’s just something slightly more distant and a little bit more alien.

“It feels quite different. A little bit like you’re on a slightly different world.”

The excavation project will enter its second phase this year, after earlier developing and stabilising the site which was part of the local Turkish village.

Dr Fairbairn says the site will be expanded over the next two-and-a-half months with the help of about 50 students and professional archaeologists, about 30 of which will come from Australia.

He says a ring of huts on the mound are in the process of being unearthed, and archaeologists have found ash and bones in the centre of the huts, potentially signalling either a rubbish dump or meeting area.

Over the past year the team has discovered the skulls of wild cattle embedded into the wall plaster of huts, a tradition also carried out at Çatalhöyük.

The remains of plants foreign to the area that were used as crops have also been found on land near the site, Dr Fairbairn says.

“There’s some kind of use of crops but it seems to be quite small – it seems to be almost quite marginal in a lot of ways,” he said.

“What we have is, basically, a hunter-gatherer society there that is settling down, using some crops – importing them or trading them with other settlements.”

Connected communities

Dr Fairbairn says work done on human remains from the site has helped add to the understanding of how the village functioned and how it fit into its region.

“We have a sense now from some of the stable isotope work on the bones that this is a small community that lives in contact with other people and there seems to be some kind of movement,” he said.

“You can look at what people eat and use that to hypothesise where they’re coming from.

“What we tend to find is, in a lot of ancient communities, people have the same type of diet in one community, and what that leaves is a similar carbon and nitrogen isotope signal in their bones.

“You can look at the mix you actually have on your site and sort of see whether everyone is the same or whether you’ve got one person who is different.

“And what you tend to find in Boncuklu is a picture that we’re finding all the way across Europe now for this period, which is that all the men are the same and all the women are actually different.”

Dr Fairbairn says it appears men may have inherited land or were fixed in one place while women moved to different settlements.

Archaeologists in training

One of the students who will spend two months living onsite in Turkey is the University of Queensland’s Jessica Heidrich.

She says she expects the trip will provide valuable fieldwork experience which is essential for anyone pursuing a career in archaeology.

“I would be kicking myself if I didn’t take this opportunity even though I have to postpone my study and I have to save up a lot of money. It’s a site that most archaeologists would kill to go to,” she said.

“The contacts, hopefully, and opportunity for more fieldwork that will come out of it is what I’m really going for.”

Fellow UQ undergraduate Anna Florin went to the excavation site last year and says digging up an ancient civilisation requires a lot of patience.

“I spent most of my time in a trench where they’d already found a neolithic house that was subterraneal and we were taking away plaster layers on it and just getting an idea of how the house was constructed.

“So it was a lot of intricate work, peeling off one layer at a time.”

Dr Fairbairn says part of the second phase of the dig will be to develop more information about the site for the local Turkish community, as well as for tourists.

OriginalArticle:

abc.net.au

By Daniel Miller July 18,2012

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The First Thanksgiving, painted by Jean Leon G...

Image via Wikipedia

Topic Happy Thanksgiving

The original article was first posted on Nov 23, 2010

The poto’s in the link seem to have disappeard so here are several from Historic St Marys to go with the article.

Food designed to fill ‘Colonists’ offer insights on their diet, work required to eat

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!!!!!

Joanna Linsley-Poe

Ancient Foods

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Topic: Religion-roots in agriculture?

 

Although centering on religion this article in National Geographic has interesting references to agriculture-many of which I have marked in bold.

I thought I had posted another article on this site earlier but I cannot locate it so if I duplicated myself that sometimes happens. At any rate this article has more detail.

We used to think agriculture gave rise to cities and later to writing, art, and religion. Now the world’s oldest temple suggests the urge to worship sparked civilization.

Every now and then the dawn of civilization is reenacted on a remote hilltop in southern Turkey.

The reenactors are busloads of tourists—usually Turkish, sometimes European. The buses (white, air-conditioned, equipped with televisions) blunder over the winding, indifferently paved road to the ridge and dock like dreadnoughts before a stone portal. Visitors flood out, fumbling with water bottles and MP3 players. Guides call out instructions and explanations. Paying no attention, the visitors straggle up the hill. When they reach the top, their mouths flop open with amazement, making a line of perfect cartoon O’s.

Before them are dozens of massive stone pillars arranged into a set of rings, one mashed up against the next. Known as Göbekli Tepe (pronounced Guh-behk-LEE TEH-peh), the site is vaguely reminiscent of Stonehenge, except that Göbekli Tepe was built much earlier and is made not from roughly hewn blocks but from cleanly carved limestone pillars splashed with bas-reliefs of animals—a cavalcade of gazelles, snakes, foxes, scorpions, and ferocious wild boars. The assemblage was built some 11,600 years ago, seven millennia before the Great Pyramid of Giza. It contains the oldest known temple. Indeed, Göbekli Tepe is the oldest known example of monumental architecture—the first structure human beings put together that was bigger and more complicated than a hut. When these pillars were erected, so far as we know, nothing of comparable scale existed in the world.

At the time of Göbekli Tepe’s construction much of the human race lived in small nomadic bands that survived by foraging for plants and hunting wild animals. Construction of the site would have required more people coming together in one place than had likely occurred before. Amazingly, the temple’s builders were able to cut, shape, and transport 16-ton stones hundreds of feet despite having no wheels or beasts of burden. The pilgrims who came to Göbekli Tepe lived in a world without writing, metal, or pottery; to those approaching the temple from below, its pillars must have loomed overhead like rigid giants, the animals on the stones shivering in the firelight—emissaries from a spiritual world that the human mind may have only begun to envision.

Archaeologists are still excavating Göbekli Tepe and debating its meaning. What they do know is that the site is the most significant in a volley of unexpected findings that have overturned earlier ideas about our species’ deep past. Just 20 years ago most researchers believed they knew the time, place, and rough sequence of the Neolithic Revolution—the critical transition that resulted in the birth of agriculture, taking Homo sapiens from scattered groups of hunter-gatherers to farming villages and from there to technologically sophisticated societies with great temples and towers and kings and priests who directed the labor of their subjects and recorded their feats in written form. But in recent years multiple new discoveries, Göbekli Tepe preeminent among them, have begun forcing archaeologists to reconsider.

At first the Neolithic Revolution was viewed as a single event—a sudden flash of genius—that occurred in a single location, Mesopotamia, between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in what is now southern Iraq, then spread to India, Europe, and beyond. Most archaeologists believed this sudden blossoming of civilization was driven largely by environmental changes: a gradual warming as the Ice Age ended that allowed some people to begin cultivating plants and herding animals in abundance. The new research suggests that the “revolution” was actually carried out by many hands across a huge area and over thousands of years. And it may have been driven not by the environment but by something else entirely.

After a moment of stunned quiet, tourists at the site busily snap pictures with cameras and cell phones. Eleven millennia ago nobody had digital imaging equipment, of course. Yet things have changed less than one might think. Most of the world’s great religious centers, past and present, have been destinations for pilgrimages—think of the Vatican, Mecca, Jerusalem, Bodh Gaya (where Buddha was enlightened), or Cahokia (the enormous Native American complex near St. Louis). They are monuments for spiritual travelers, who often came great distances, to gawk at and be stirred by. Göbekli Tepe may be the first of all of them, the beginning of a pattern. What it suggests, at least to the archaeologists working there, is that the human sense of the sacred—and the human love of a good spectacle—may have given rise to civilization itself.

Klaus Schmidt knew almost instantly that he was going to be spending a lot of time at Göbekli Tepe. Now a researcher at the German Archaeological Institute (DAI), Schmidt had spent the autumn of 1994 trundling across southeastern Turkey. He had been working at a site there for a few years and was looking for another place to excavate. The biggest city in the area is Şanlıurfa (pronounced shan-LYOOR-fa). By the standards of a brash newcomer like London, Şanlıurfa is incredibly old—the place where the Prophet Abraham supposedly was born. Schmidt was in the city to find a place that would help him understand the Neolithic, a place that would make Şanlıurfa look young. North of Şanlıurfa the ground ripples into the first foothills of the mountains that run across southern Turkey, source of the famous Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. Nine miles outside of town is a long ridge with a rounded crest that locals call Potbelly Hill—Göbekli Tepe.

In the 1960s archaeologists from the University of Chicago had surveyed the region and concluded that Göbekli Tepe was of little interest. Disturbance was evident at the top of the hill, but they attributed it to the activities of a Byzantine-era military outpost. Here and there were broken pieces of limestone they thought were gravestones. Schmidt had come across the Chicago researchers’ brief description of the hilltop and decided to check it out. On the ground he saw flint chips—huge numbers of them. “Within minutes of getting there,” Schmidt says, he realized that he was looking at a place where scores or even hundreds of people had worked in millennia past. The limestone slabs were not Byzantine graves but something much older. In collaboration with the DAI and the Şanlıurfa Museum, he set to work the next year.

Inches below the surface the team struck an elaborately fashioned stone. Then another, and another—a ring of standing pillars. As the months and years went by, Schmidt’s team, a shifting crew of German and Turkish graduate students and 50 or more local villagers, found a second circle of stones, then a third, and then more. Geomagnetic surveys in 2003 revealed at least 20 rings piled together, higgledy-piggledy, under the earth.

The pillars were big—the tallest are 18 feet in height and weigh 16 tons. Swarming over their surfaces was a menagerie of animal bas-reliefs, each in a different style, some roughly rendered, a few as refined and symbolic as Byzantine art. Other parts of the hill were littered with the greatest store of ancient flint tools Schmidt had ever seen—a Neolithic warehouse of knives, choppers, and projectile points. Even though the stone had to be lugged from neighboring valleys, Schmidt says, “there were more flints in one little area here, a square meter or two, than many archaeologists find in entire sites.”

The circles follow a common design. All are made from limestone pillars shaped like giant spikes or capital T’s. Bladelike, the pillars are easily five times as wide as they are deep. They stand an arm span or more apart, interconnected by low stone walls. In the middle of each ring are two taller pillars, their thin ends mounted in shallow grooves cut into the floor. I asked German architect and civil engineer Eduard Knoll, who works with Schmidt to preserve the site, how well designed the mounting system was for the central pillars. “Not,” he said, shaking his head. “They hadn’t yet mastered engineering.” Knoll speculated that the pillars may have been propped up, perhaps by wooden posts.

To Schmidt, the T-shaped pillars are stylized human beings, an idea bolstered by the carved arms that angle from the “shoulders” of some pillars, hands reaching toward their loincloth-draped bellies. The stones face the center of the circle—as at “a meeting or dance,” Schmidt says—a representation, perhaps, of a religious ritual. As for the prancing, leaping animals on the figures, he noted that they are mostly deadly creatures: stinging scorpions, charging boars, ferocious lions. The figures represented by the pillars may be guarded by them, or appeasing them, or incorporating them as totems.

Puzzle piled upon puzzle as the excavation continued. For reasons yet unknown, the rings at Göbekli Tepe seem to have regularly lost their power, or at least their charm. Every few decades people buried the pillars and put up new stones—a second, smaller ring, inside the first. Sometimes, later, they installed a third. Then the whole assemblage would be filled in with debris, and an entirely new circle created nearby. The site may have been built, filled in, and built again for centuries.

Bewilderingly, the people at Göbekli Tepe got steadily worse at temple building. The earliest rings are the biggest and most sophisticated, technically and artistically. As time went by, the pillars became smaller, simpler, and were mounted with less and less care. Finally the effort seems to have petered out altogether by 8200 B.C. Göbekli Tepe was all fall and no rise.

As important as what the researchers found was what they did not find: any sign of habitation. Hundreds of people must have been required to carve and erect the pillars, but the site had no water source—the nearest stream was about three miles away. Those workers would have needed homes, but excavations have uncovered no sign of walls, hearths, or houses—no other buildings that Schmidt has interpreted as domestic. They would have had to be fed, but there is also no trace of agriculture. For that matter, Schmidt has found no mess kitchens or cooking fires. It was purely a ceremonial center. If anyone ever lived at this site, they were less its residents than its staff. To judge by the thousands of gazelle and aurochs bones found at the site, the workers seem to have been fed by constant shipments of game, brought from faraway hunts. All of this complex endeavor must have had organizers and overseers, but there is as yet no good evidence of a social hierarchy—no living area reserved for richer people, no tombs filled with elite goods, no sign of some people having better diets than others.

“These people were foragers,” Schmidt says, people who gathered plants and hunted wild animals. “Our picture of foragers was always just small, mobile groups, a few dozen people. They cannot make big permanent structures, we thought, because they must move around to follow the resources. They can’t maintain a separate class of priests and craft workers, because they can’t carry around all the extra supplies to feed them. Then here is Göbekli Tepe, and they obviously did that.”

Discovering that hunter-gatherers had constructed Göbekli Tepe was like finding that someone had built a 747 in a basement with an X-Acto knife. “I, my colleagues, we all thought, What? How?” Schmidt said. Paradoxically, Göbekli Tepe appeared to be both a harbinger of the civilized world that was to come and the last, greatest emblem of a nomadic past that was already disappearing. The accomplishment was astonishing, but it was hard to understand how it had been done or what it meant. “In 10 or 15 years,” Schmidt predicts, “Göbekli Tepe will be more famous than Stonehenge. And for good reason.”

Hovering over Göbekli Tepe is the ghost of V. Gordon Childe. An Australian transplant to Britain, Childe was a flamboyant man, a passionate Marxist who wore plus fours and bow ties and larded his public addresses with noodle-headed paeans to Stalinism. He was also one of the most influential archaeologists of the past century. A great synthesist, Childe wove together his colleagues’ disconnected facts into overarching intellectual schemes. The most famous of these arose in the 1920s, when he invented the concept of the Neolithic Revolution.

In today’s terms, Childe’s views could be summed up like this: Homo sapiens burst onto the scene about 200,000 years ago. For most of the millennia that followed, the species changed remarkably little, with humans living as small bands of wandering foragers. Then came the Neolithic Revolution—”a radical change,” Childe said, “fraught with revolutionary consequences for the whole species.” In a lightning bolt of inspiration, one part of humankind turned its back on foraging and embraced agriculture. The adoption of farming, Childe argued, brought with it further transformations. To tend their fields, people had to stop wandering and move into permanent villages, where they developed new tools and created pottery. The Neolithic Revolution, in his view, was an explosively important event—”the greatest in human history after the mastery of fire.”

Of all the aspects of the revolution, agriculture was the most important. For thousands of years men and women with stone implements had wandered the landscape, cutting off heads of wild grain and taking them home. Even though these people may have tended and protected their grain patches, the plants they watched over were still wild. Wild wheat and barley, unlike their domesticated versions, shatter when they are ripe—the kernels easily break off the plant and fall to the ground, making them next to impossible to harvest when fully ripe. Genetically speaking, true grain agriculture began only when people planted large new areas with mutated plants that did not shatter at maturity, creating fields of domesticated wheat and barley that, so to speak, waited for farmers to harvest them.

Rather than having to comb through the landscape for food, people could now grow as much as they needed and where they needed it, so they could live together in larger groups. Population soared. “It was only after the revolution—but immediately thereafter—that our species really began to multiply at all fast,” Childe wrote. In these suddenly more populous societies, ideas could be more readily exchanged, and rates of technological and social innovation soared. Religion and art—the hallmarks of civilization—flourished.

Childe, like most researchers today, believed that the revolution first occurred in the Fertile Crescent, the arc of land that curves northeast from Gaza into southern Turkey and then sweeps southeast into Iraq. Bounded on the south by the harsh Syrian Desert and on the north by the mountains of Turkey, the crescent is a band of temperate climate between inhospitable extremes. Its eastern terminus is the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in southern Iraq—the site of a realm known as Sumer, which dates back to about 4000 B.C. In Childe’s day most researchers agreed that Sumer represented the beginning of civilization. Archaeologist Samuel Noah Kramer summed up that view in the 1950s in his book History Begins at Sumer. Yet even before Kramer finished writing, the picture was being revised at the opposite, western end of the Fertile Crescent. In the Levant—the area that today encompasses Israel, the Palestinian territories, Lebanon, Jordan, and western Syria—archaeologists had discovered settlements dating as far back as 13,000 B.C. Known as Natufian villages (the name comes from the first of these sites to be found), they sprang up across the Levant as the Ice Age was drawing to a close, ushering in a time when the region’s climate became relatively warm and wet.

The discovery of the Natufians was the first rock through the window of Childe’s Neolithic Revolution. Childe had thought agriculture the necessary spark that led to villages and ignited civilization. Yet although the Natufians lived in permanent settlements of up to several hundred people, they were foragers, not farmers, hunting gazelles and gathering wild rye, barley, and wheat. “It was a big sign that our ideas needed to be revised,” says Harvard University archaeologist Ofer Bar-Yosef.

Natufian villages ran into hard times around 10,800 B.C., when regional temperatures abruptly fell some 12°F, part of a mini ice age that lasted 1,200 years and created much drier conditions across the Fertile Crescent. With animal habitat and grain patches shrinking, a number of villages suddenly became too populous for the local food supply. Many people once again became wandering foragers, searching the landscape for remaining food sources.

Some settlements tried to adjust to the more arid conditions. The village of Abu Hureyra, in what is now northern Syria, seemingly tried to cultivate local stands of rye, perhaps replanting them. After examining rye grains from the site, Gordon Hillman of University College London and Andrew Moore of the Rochester Institute of Technology argued in 2000 that some were bigger than their wild equivalents—a possible sign of domestication, because cultivation inevitably increases qualities, such as fruit and seed size, that people find valuable. Bar-Yosef and some other researchers came to believe that nearby sites like Mureybet and Tell Qaramel also had had agriculture.

If these archaeologists were correct, these protovillages provided a new explanation of how complex society began. Childe thought that agriculture came first, that it was the innovation that allowed humans to seize the opportunity of a rich new environment to extend their dominion over the natural world. The Natufian sites in the Levant suggested instead that settlement came first and that farming arose later, as a product of crisis. Confronted with a drying, cooling environment and growing populations, humans in the remaining fecund areas thought, as Bar-Yosef puts it, “If we move, these other folks will exploit our resources. The best way for us to survive is to settle down and exploit our own area.” Agriculture followed.

The idea that the Neolithic Revolution was driven by climate change resonated during the 1990s, a time when people were increasingly worried about the effects of modern global warming. It was promoted in countless articles and books and ultimately enshrined in Wikipedia. Yet critics charged that the evidence was weak, not least because Abu Hureyra, Mureybet, and many other sites in northern Syria had been flooded by dams before they could be fully excavated. “You had an entire theory on the origins of human culture essentially based on a half a dozen unusually plump seeds,” ancient-grain specialist George Willcox of the National Center for Scientific Research, in France, says. “Isn’t it more likely that these grains were puffed during charring or that somebody at Abu Hureyra found some unusual-looking wild rye?”

As the dispute over the Natufians sharpened, Schmidt was carefully working at Göbekli Tepe. And what he was finding would, once again, force many researchers to reassess their ideas.

Anthropologists have assumed that organized religion began as a way of salving the tensions that inevitably arose when hunter-gatherers settled down, became farmers, and developed large societies. Compared to a nomadic band, the society of a village had longer term, more complex aims—storing grain and maintaining permanent homes. Villages would be more likely to accomplish those aims if their members were committed to the collective enterprise. Though primitive religious practices—burying the dead, creating cave art and figurines—had emerged tens of thousands of years earlier, organized religion arose, in this view, only when a common vision of a celestial order was needed to bind together these big, new, fragile groups of humankind. It could also have helped justify the social hierarchy that emerged in a more complex society: Those who rose to power were seen as having a special connection with the gods. Communities of the faithful, united in a common view of the world and their place in it, were more cohesive than ordinary clumps of quarreling people.

Göbekli Tepe, to Schmidt’s way of thinking, suggests a reversal of that scenario: The construction of a massive temple by a group of foragers is evidence that organized religion could have come before the rise of agriculture and other aspects of civilization. It suggests that the human impulse to gather for sacred rituals arose as humans shifted from seeing themselves as part of the natural world to seeking mastery over it. When foragers began settling down in villages, they unavoidably created a divide between the human realm—a fixed huddle of homes with hundreds of inhabitants—and the dangerous land beyond the campfire, populated by lethal beasts.

French archaeologist Jacques Cauvin believed this change in consciousness was a “revolution of symbols,” a conceptual shift that allowed humans to imagine gods—supernatural beings resembling humans—that existed in a universe beyond the physical world. Schmidt sees Göbekli Tepe as evidence for Cauvin’s theory. “The animals were guardians to the spirit world,” he says. “The reliefs on the T-shaped pillars illustrate that other world.”

Schmidt speculates that foragers living within a hundred-mile radius of Göbekli Tepe created the temple as a holy place to gather and meet, perhaps bringing gifts and tributes to its priests and crafts­people. Some kind of social organization would have been necessary not only to build it but also to deal with the crowds it attracted. One imagines chanting and drumming, the animals on the great pillars seeming to move in flickering torchlight. Surely there were feasts; Schmidt has uncovered stone basins that could have been used for beer. The temple was a spiritual locus, but it may also have been the Neolithic version of Disneyland.

Over time, Schmidt believes, the need to acquire sufficient food for those who worked and gathered for ceremonies at Göbekli Tepe may have led to the intensive cultivation of wild cereals and the creation of some of the first domestic strains. Indeed, scientists now believe that one center of agriculture arose in southern Turkey—well within trekking distance of Göbekli Tepe—at exactly the time the temple was at its height. Today the closest known wild ancestors of modern einkorn wheat are found on the slopes of Karaca Dağ, a mountain just 60 miles northeast of Göbekli Tepe. In other words, the turn to agriculture celebrated by V. Gordon Childe may have been the result of a need that runs deep in the human psyche, a hunger that still moves people today to travel the globe in search of awe-inspiring sights.

Some of the first evidence for plant domestication comes from Nevalı Çori (pronounced nuh-vah-LUH CHO-ree), a settlement in the mountains scarcely 20 miles away. Like Göbekli Tepe, Nevalı Çori came into existence right after the mini ice age, a time archaeologists describe with the unlovely term Pre-pottery Neolithic (PPN). Nevalı Çori is now inundated by a recently created lake that provides electricity and irrigation water for the region. But before the waters shut down research, archaeologists found T-shaped pillars and animal images much like those Schmidt would later uncover at Göbekli Tepe. Similar pillars and images occurred in PPN settlements up to a hundred miles from Göbekli Tepe. Much as one can surmise today that homes with images of the Virgin Mary belong to Christians, Schmidt says, the imagery in these PPN sites indicates a shared religion—a community of faith that surrounded Göbekli Tepe and may have been the world’s first truly large religious grouping.

Naturally, some of Schmidt’s colleagues disagree with his ideas. The lack of evidence of houses, for instance, doesn’t prove that nobody lived at Göbekli Tepe. And increasingly, archaeologists studying the origins of civilization in the Fertile Crescent are suspicious of any attempt to find a one-size-fits-all scenario, to single out one primary trigger. It is more as if the occupants of various archaeological sites were all playing with the building blocks of civilization, looking for combinations that worked. In one place agriculture may have been the foundation; in another, art and religion; and over there, population pressures or social organization and hierarchy. Eventually they all ended up in the same place. Perhaps there is no single path to civilization; instead it was arrived at by different means in different places.

In Schmidt’s view, many of his colleagues have been as slow to appreciate Göbekli Tepe as he has been to excavate it. This summer will mark his 17th year at the site. The annals of archaeology are replete with scientists who in their hurry carelessly wrecked important finds, losing knowledge for all time. Schmidt is determined not to add his name to the list. Today less than a tenth of the 22-acre site is open to the sky.

Schmidt emphasizes that further research on Göbekli Tepe may change his current understanding of the site’s importance. Even its age is not clear—Schmidt is not certain he has reached the bottom layer. “We come up with two new mysteries for every one that we solve,” he says. Still, he has already drawn some conclusions. “Twenty years ago everyone believed civilization was driven by ecological forces,” Schmidt says. “I think what we are learning is that civilization is a product of the human mind.”

Oroginal Article:

By Charles C Mann

Charles C. Mann’s new book, 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created, is due out in August. Vincent J. Musi photographed the domestication of animals for our March issue.

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Topic Early Pilgrim Dinner

Mistress Rebecca Spray shows dried corn being processed into flour or meal

 

Something to think about and be greatful we do not have to go out and catch, kill and dress out turkeys before we can cook them-but it’s nice to remember on where we come from as well.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Step into the kitchen at the Godiah Spray Plantation at Historic St. Mary’s City, and the year becomes 1661.

As Mistress Rebecca Spray prepared the midday meal Nov. 12 by the open hearth for her family and the workers connected with the farm, one of the indentured servants and a hired hand debated the quality of their food in the Maryland colony, compared to meals they had back in England.

“It’s made of Indian corn here,” said William Felstead, the hired hand, referring to the crust of the meat pasty, a kind of baked meat turnover, that will be part of the upcoming meal.

“It’s bland and gritty,” he said, making a face.

“I prefer wheat” flour, agreed John Prentiss, the indentured servant.

Mistress Spray chided them for grumbling. “It keeps you from starving, doesn’t it?” she asked, looking up from her work, patting a handful of cornmeal crust mixture into a circle.

But even she noted later that the corn meal that has become so prevalent in her family’s diet, since arriving in the New World nine years earlier, has some characteristics she and other colonial cooks have had to overcome to continue preparing foods like the meat pasty that was part of their diet in England. Corn is easier to grow in the colony than wheat, she said.

In fact, to assure that the colonists don’t neglect growing food because they are so focused on the money-making tobacco plant and that they will provide for their household, by law, colonists during this period are required to grow at least two acres of corn per each man in their household who works in the field, Felstead noted.

But the pasty (pronounced “pass-tee”) crust doesn’t hold together as well using corn instead of wheat flour, Mistress Spray said, demonstrating by crumbling off the edge of an uncooked pasty waiting to be cooked with her fingers.

“Wheat doesn’t break apart like that,” she said.

Felstead and Prentiss decide to heat up a couple of completed pasties that had been sitting on the table as they wait for their meal. They put the hand-sized, chicken-and-turnip-filled crusts, in a skillet over the fire and watch as they warm.

The crust is thick and made with lard and is very filling — one of the main goals of the colonial diet, Mistress Spray said.

A meat pasty is a way to stretch meat a little further. This was particularly helpful in England, because meat was more dear there, due to restrictions on hunting. In the Maryland colony, however, pork, beef, fish, fowl and a variety of game are more available, Felstead said.

“You can hunt all you want here in Mary-land … not like in England.”

It was in England that Mistress Spray first learned how to cook, she said. How to create different dishes was information passed down from generation to generation, although the writing down of recipes was practiced by some, and books of these recipes did exist for literate, wealthy people, she said.

She smiles when asked how much time she spends preparing food to feed her husband, seven children and the farm’s two hired hands and four indentured servants.

“Sun-up to sundown,” she said.

For the filling for a meat pasty, this day she has chosen to mince chicken meat and cut up some turnips, although she noted that pork and beef also work well. “You can add onions, garlic,” she said.

Even starting with the corn already grown and dried and the chicken already raised and slaughtered, the chicken meat must be cooked and the corn pounded into a meal or flour.

“We have the children grind the corn,” Felstead said.

“They pound it with an iron bar,” she explained, stepping out into the yard to show the bar her children use for that everyday chore. “Then you sift that meal that you’ve crushed.”

Mistress Spray has seven children, thus plenty of hands for that task.

Mistress Spray, William Felstead and John Prentiss will be sharing more about the foods they eat and how it is prepared at Historic St. Mary’s City’s Hearth and Home in Early Maryland event on Nov. 26 and 27.

The event, which vies with Woodland Indian Discovery Day in September as the most-visited event for the museum, is designed to offer visitors a glimpse of the work colonists were required to do just to eat, said Susan Wilkinson, director of marketing and communications for Historic St. Mary’s City.

“For this event, the focus is food and visitors will leave with a recipe booklet for colonial dishes adapted for the modern kitchen,” she wrote in an e-mail. “After seeing open hearth cooking, watching the chickens run in the garden, and grinding corn, I think many will find a new appreciation for their microwaves, refrigerators, sinks and grocery stores.”

Mistress Spray, Felstead and Prentiss, who are based on actual Maryland colonists, are portrayed by Roberta Smith, site supervisor at Godiah Spray Plantation; Peter Friesen and John Harvey, all residents of St. Mary’s City.

They field questions about their lives as colonists from 40,000 to 50,000 visitors to the museum every year, according to Wilkinson.

The most common questions? “What do you eat? When do you eat? Does is taste good? What do you do with all the food you grow?”

Part of their job is being willing to learn. For instance, they take recipes from the time period and try to replicate them with what they have available at the plantation. “It’s sort of experimental archaeology,” Smith said.

Some of the experiments were dismal failures. “Stuffed turnip. Ugh. It was terrible,” Friesen said.

“Battered yarrow … really strong stuff,” Smith said.

They have found that the colonists were heavy handed with herbs and spices. But sugar was used sparingly, as it was more rare and expensive.

They noted that nothing was wasted. “They would use the whole animal, face and all … everything but the squeal,” Friesen said.

A dish that was a hit in the museum’s experiments was a colonial recipe for turkey, which directed the cook to boil the carcass in a mixture that was mostly butter.

“So good,” Harvey said.

Recipe:

Meat pasty with fowl Dough

3 cups flour

1 1/2 sticks butter (cold)

1 1/2 tsp. salt

6 tablespoons water

In a large bowl, combine flour, butter and salt. Blend flour, butter and salt until well combined. Add water slowly, to form dough. Knead the dough to distribute the butter evenly throughout.

Form into a ball, dust with flour, cover and chill for 30 minutes.

Filling

1 pound chicken, ground

5 turnips, cubed

2 large onions, cubed

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Combine all ingredients in large bowl.

Instructions

Divide the dough into six pieces, and roll one of the pieces into a 10-inch round on a lightly floured surface. Put 1 1/2 cups of filling on half of the round. Moisten the edges and fold the unfilled half over the filling to enclose it. Pinch the edges together to seal them and crimp with your thumb and forefinger. Transfer pasty to lightly buttered baking sheet and cut a few slits in the top. Continue to make more pasties with the remaining dough. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Put one teaspoon of butter through a slit in each pasty and continue baking for 30 minutes more. Remove from oven and cool.

The above recipe was adapted for the 21st-century palate from a 17th-century pasty recipe and was provided by Roberta Smith, site supervisor at Godiah Spray Plantation at Historic St. Mary’s City..

Oricinal article:

somdnews.com

 Text and photo’s by Susan Craton

11/19/2010

Farm scene at Godiah Spray Plantation at Historic St. Mary's City,

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Topic Eikorn Wheat

 

 
 

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The wild progenitor of einkorn wheat, one of the first crops to be domesticated (ca. 9000 B.C.), has been identified genetically in southeastern Turkey, according to a report in the journal Science. Manfred Heun of the Agricultural University of Norway, along with Norwegian, German, and Italian colleagues, examined the DNA of 68 lines of cultivated einkorn (Triticum monococcum monococcum), 194 lines of wild einkorn (T. m. boeoticum) from nine geographical regions within the Fertile Crescent, and nine lines of a weedy einkorn (T. m. aegilopoides) found in the Balkans.

Cultivated einkorns proved closely related to one another and to weedy einkorn. Significantly, both cultivated and weedy varieties are closely related to wild einkorn found in one region, the Karacadag Mountains of southeastern Turkey. The wild einkorn from that area proved to be distinct from other wild types and may be the forebear of the domestic variety.

Eleven of 19 lines of wild einkorn from the Karacadag Mountains are particularly close to cultivated einkorn but have clear wild characteristics, including a brittle stalk yielding a few small grains. In cultivated einkorn the stalk is tougher (which makes the grain easier to harvest), and the seeds are larger and more numerous. The weedy einkorn, closely related to both wild and cultivated types, appears to be an intermediate form with some characteristics of cultivation (the stem is somewhat tougher than in wild plants, the seeds are intermediate in weight, and there are comparable numbers of seeds as in cultivated plants).

Wild or cultivated einkorn grains have been found at several early Neolithic sites in Turkey near the Karacadag Mountains, including Cafer Höyük, Cayönü, and Nevali Cori. Wild and cultivated seeds have also been found at Abu Hureya to the south in Syria.

Original article:

by Mark Rose 1998

archaeology.org

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