Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Luxury food and pampered pooches in Iron Age Britain

University of Reading archaeologists have found evidence that Iron Age people in Britain were spicing up meals with foods and seasoning imported from around the Mediterranean.

Previously it had been assumed that prior to the Roman occupation of Britain, only liquid products such as olive oil and wine were imported from across the Channel. However archaeologists working at Silchester Roman Town in Hampshire have discovered that people of that time were importing Mediterranean seasoning as well as whole olives themselves.

A refined diet

Last year an olive stone, along with seeds of celery and coriander, were discovered in a Late Iron Age well, all dating to pre AD 43. A second well produced a celery seed again dated pre AD 43 and several dill seeds dated to AD 40-50.

Professor Michael Fulford, from the University of Reading's Department of Archaeology, said: "These plant foods were all cultivated in the region and literary evidence shows they were part of Roman cuisine. Whilst the import of olive oil and wine during the Late Iron Age is evidenced at Silchester and elsewhere throughout southern Britain, we were unaware that olive fruits and seasonings were also being imported – until now.

"Topics such as global food trade, food security and self-sufficiency may seem like issues only for the present day, but this unique discovery shows just how sophisticated Britain's trade in food and global links were, even before the Romans colonised in the first century AD.

Via http://www.pasthorizonspr.com/index.php/archives/07/2012/luxury-food-and-pampered-pooches-in-iron-age-britain