Wednesday, January 16, 2019

What was in the ancient Israelites' pantry?

ARCHAEO-BOTANY: What Ancient Seeds Found in Archaeological Excavations in Israel Tell Us. Well-preserved seeds found in archaeological digs in Israel offer a singular glimpse into the lives of the people who were nourished by them thousands of years ago (Ronit Vered, Haaretz premium).
“What we’re doing as botanists or as archaeologists is to come to these people’s homes and check their pantry,” says Prof. Ehud Weiss, head of the Archaeological Botany Lab in the Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology at Bar Ilan University. “That home existed 2,000 or 6,000 years ago, but then, as now, our pantry says a lot about who we are. The food we eat reflects our socioeconomic situation and is indicative of the society we live in and relations with the environment. A central question in archaeology is: Who were the people whose cultural remnants we uncover?

“The information archaeological botany provides is fascinating, and relevant for understanding the human race. We are what we eat, and knowledge in our field has become so precise that we now have a high capability of classifying every plant we find in archaeological digs. With the aid of that information, it’s possible to reconstruct modes and customs of nutrition, economy, agriculture, religion and culture.”
Beer is involved. Ancient beer, that is. I don't know about modern.

Also, they are developing a digital database of seeds.

A few past posts on research on ancient seeds in Israel are here, here, here, and here.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.