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Thread: Einkorn traded to Britain 8000 years BP page

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    Einkorn traded to Britain 8000 years BP

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    The Mesolithic-to-Neolithic transition marked the time when a hunter-gatherer economy gave way to agriculture, coinciding with rising sea levels. Bouldnor Cliff, is a submarine archaeological site off the Isle of Wight in the United Kingdom that has a well-preserved Mesolithic paleosol dated to 8000 years before the present. We analyzed a core obtained from sealed sediments, combining evidence from microgeomorphology and microfossils with sedimentary ancient DNA (sedaDNA) analyses to reconstruct floral and faunal changes during the occupation of this site, before it was submerged. In agreement with palynological analyses, the sedaDNA sequences suggest a mixed habitat of oak forest and herbaceous plants. However, they also provide evidence of wheat 2000 years earlier than mainland Britain and 400 years earlier than proximate European sites. These results suggest that sophisticated social networks linked the Neolithic front in southern Europe to the Mesolithic peoples of northern Europe.
    Sedimentary DNA from a submerged site reveals wheat in the British Isles 8000 years ago

    C14 dates are, of course, given in BP, which stands for "Before the Present" and relates to the reference from 1950:

    C14Info - Calibration

    All jokes apart - "No, Grok! Don't do it!" - this is interesting as pointing to more sophisticated trading networks than might have been supposed.

    I guess if the Mesolithic people in this area had something to trade - pelts, hunting dogs, or whatever it might be - then why wouldn't there be people in Southern Europe who'd be keen to get those in exchange for surplus einkorn they might have?


    You don't, of course, have to eat the one thing or the other - hunted and foraged food or grown food - whether you grow the latter yourself or trade for it:

    Creek Indian hunters used to carry strings
    of this bread [Chubo-ahake] tied to their saddles, on long hunting expeditions,
    without cover from rain or snow or any kind of weather.
    http://www.amazon.com/American-India.../dp/B0007GSVZS

    And something that's traded might be fairly rare, and so have luxury value.

    "Here, try this Sir Walter ... what? We call it tobacco ... no, you set fire to it."




    News write-up here:

    BBC News - Scientists find evidence of wheat in UK 8,000 years ago

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vainamoinen View Post
    Sedimentary DNA from a submerged site reveals wheat in the British Isles 8000 years ago

    C14 dates are, of course, given in BP, which stands for "Before the Present" and relates to the reference from 1950:

    C14Info - Calibration

    All jokes apart - "No, Grok! Don't do it!" - this is interesting as pointing to more sophisticated trading networks than might have been supposed.

    I guess if the Mesolithic people in this area had something to trade - pelts, hunting dogs, or whatever it might be - then why wouldn't there be people in Southern Europe who'd be keen to get those in exchange for surplus einkorn they might have?


    You don't, of course, have to eat the one thing or the other - hunted and foraged food or grown food - whether you grow the latter yourself or trade for it:



    http://www.amazon.com/American-India.../dp/B0007GSVZS

    And something that's traded might be fairly rare, and so have luxury value.

    "Here, try this Sir Walter ... what? We call it tobacco ... no, you set fire to it."




    News write-up here:

    BBC News - Scientists find evidence of wheat in UK 8,000 years ago
    Beer.

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    Yeah, probably beer. Too early for the Tin trade, probably, so no telling what made it out.

    M.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fifer View Post
    Beer.
    It's certainly a possibility. But then again no seeds were found - only DNA. And this is probably why it's being said that:

    The einkorn DNA - from a substantial quantity of the cereal, most likely in flour form - was recovered by archaeologists from the Maritime Archaeology Trust
    http://www.independent.co.uk/life-st...-10073458.html

    Flour, if it was that, would tend to indicate a product for making bread or cakes. The labour involved in grinding isn't necessary for beer-malt:

    Malt - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Besides, I think barley was more common than wheat at this time. (It was the most common cereal in the Holy Land in Biblical times - and later the most commonly grown in Northern Europe, because of the climatic conditions there.) Wheat would surely be more of a luxury grain used for bread because it's better for that: barley "will do", if it's only beer you want.

    And it's not as if the raw materials for making alcoholic drinks, in the form of hedgerow fruits, crab apples, and honey, wouldn't be around in Britain at the time anyway.

    But, sure, that's one possible use for grain.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vainamoinen View Post
    It's certainly a possibility. But then again no seeds were found - only DNA. And this is probably why it's being said that:



    The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory - History - Life and Style - The Independent

    Flour, if it was that, would tend to indicate a product for making bread or cakes. The labour involved in grinding isn't necessary for beer-malt:

    Malt - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Besides, I think barley was more common than wheat at this time. (It was the most common cereal in the Holy Land in Biblical times - and later the most commonly grown in Northern Europe, because of the climatic conditions there.) Wheat would surely be more of a luxury grain used for bread because it's better for that: barley "will do", if it's only beer you want.

    And it's not as if the raw materials for making alcoholic drinks, in the form of hedgerow fruits, crab apples, and honey, wouldn't be around in Britain at the time anyway.

    But, sure, that's one possible use for grain.
    Thanks for these details - yes interesting. I just like the idea that the neolithic grains were for brewing, and that the idea of baking them into bread was a later development, part of the secondary products revolution.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fifer View Post
    Thanks for these details - yes interesting. I just like the idea that the neolithic grains were for brewing, and that the idea of baking them into bread was a later development, part of the secondary products revolution.
    I think it can be difficult to know where some of these foodstuffs begin and end, because there probably weren't the sharp distinctions between them that we would make.

    So a gruel might be fermented somewhat - and probably would ferment whether you intended it to or not, if it stood around for any length of time.

    On the other hand, what's referred to as "beer" in many ethnographic or historical contexts may sometimes have been more of a lactic ferment than an alcoholic ferment. That would certainly be true of many African cultures.

    So it's not always clear where gruels end and beers begin.

    Dorothy Hartley mentions shepherds in Scotland (or perhaps Northern England) carrying water and oatmeal in small wooden barrels (which would probably tend to harbour bacteria) slung on their backs - and here you end up with an effervescent drink. I guess that's not quite a gruel but certainly not a beer:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Food-In-Engl.../dp/0749942150

    And even the line between bread and beer might be blurred. IIRC, some of the ancient cultures in the Fertile Crescent made beer from old loaves. There was probably a malted mash as well, but bread went in there.

    And, of course, Russian kvass is made from stale bread.

    My feeling about the news story is that since it's einkorn, a form of wheat, and not barley that's turned up it's more likely intended for bread or some type of hearth cake - since wheat is the luxury grain here, having the better characteristics for baking. And since it seems most likely the grain had been transported as flour - surprising to me, as it wouldn't keep so well, but that's what they're saying - that seems to make it an even stronger possibility.

    Grinding's labour, isn't it? This is presumably why country people even at a time when there was abundant wheat, in some areas of the country anyway, rather than grinding grain, paying for it to be ground, or buying it ground, put the corns of wheat to soak whole overnight in hot water. You then get creed wheat - to "cree" the wheat is to soak it until the starch splits and gelatinises. That dish was still around in the 19th century. A bowl of this (with rum in) is what Michael Henchard sells his wife for, echoing Esau's sale of his birthright for a mess of pottage, in The Mayor of Casterbridge:

    a little iron stove-pipe came out of it at the back and in front appeared the placard, "Good Furmity Sold Hear." The man mentally weighed the two inscriptions and inclined to the former tent.
    Chapter 1 [Thomas Hardy's novel: The Mayor of Casterbridge]

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    Here are a bunch of recipes for Native American corn, bean, pumpkin, and other dishes from an old text: http://digital.library.okstate.edu/C...6/v036p155.pdf

    It spells the hard bread as chuto-ahake (translation: "resembling a rock")

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    Primal Blueprint Expert Certification
    Here's a bit of fun - some scientists, who appropriately enough happen to be Norsemen - who have made beer from einkorn:

    Brewing Stone Age beer | ScienceNordic

    I like the way they drily say:

    Perhaps the wish to brew beer for celebrations and ceremonies was a prime motivation for raising grain.
    I guess it could have been. I'm trying to imagine someone saying that in a Norwegian accent.


    There's a Bronze Age culture in the British Isles and elsewhere often known as the Beaker Folk:

    Beaker folk | people | Encyclopedia Britannica

    - because they might be buried with large and very beautiful bell beakers with incised patterns:

    l_6beaker.jpg

    Wiltshire Museum : Galleries

    It has been suggested that these may have been communal drinking vessels for use in some kind of drinking ritual, but I don't know whether that's stood up to investigation.

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