If you’ve wondered what the culinary habits of ancient communities were, now you have the chance to take a peek at the menu of Stonehenge builders, rich in barbecue and dairy products.
A team of researchers from the University College London in collaboration with the University of York dug up a few clues on the culinary habits of the ancient community believed to have lived in the Neolithic settlement at Durrington Walls.
It might come as a surprise, but the settlers at Durrington Walls were heavily relying on barbecued meat. Pork and beef alike, the animals were sacrificed for the dwellers to enjoy and hearty meals.
However, remnants found in some of the pottery both in the Neolithic settlement and around Stonehenge indicate that milk, cheese and yoghurt were also present on the menu.
Not for the dwellers though, who considered these foods pure and worthy of the gods. As such, they were brought as offerings during ceremonies for deities to feast upon. This finding is consistent with the traditional ancient ceremonies specific to other tribes as well. It is believed that the white color of the milk and fresh dairy products was the hallmark of purity. Thus, the impure meat was reserved for the Neolithic settlers, while the dairy products and milk were offered as bountiful offerings to deities.
Durrington Walls, located near Amesbury, in a depression near the River Avon, is one of the most recognizable monuments in the world. It is estimated to have been built during the new stone age, approximately 4,500 years ago. With 1,640 feet in diameter and a 54 feet wide ditch surrounding it, it would have been the location where the builders of the enigmatic Stonehenge lived.
Builders who are now believed to have been volunteers travelling from afar to contribute to the building of the giant stone monument, and not slaves as it was previously thought.
Moreover, the analysis of the remnants found in the pottery and the pattern in which pottery and animals bones were found on the site indicate that the dwellers of Durrington Walls held organised feasts here. A strict ceremonial distribution was observed as well.
Professor Mike Parker Pearson, with the University College London, as well as Director of the Feeding Stonehenge project, explained:
“The special placing of milk pots at the larger ceremonial buildings reveals that certain products had a ritual significance beyond that of nutrition alone”.
Further, the cooking areas were laden with pork and beef bones, indicating the large barbecue feasts that would provide the builders a hearty meal and strength for another day’s work.
Photo Credits: Wikimedia