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Ancient Mugello Bread: Thirty thousand-year-old evidence of plant food processing

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European Paleolithic subsistence is assumed to have been largely based on animal protein and fat, whereas evidence for plant consumption is rare. We present evidence of starch grains from various wild plants on the surfaces of grinding tools at the sites of Bilancino II (Italy), Kostenki 16–Uglyanka (Russia),

and Pavlov VI (Czech Republic). The samples originate from a variety of geographical and environmental contexts, ranging from northeastern Europe to the central Mediterranean, and dated to the Mid-Upper Paleolithic (Gravettian and Gorodtsovian). The three sites suggest that vegetal food processing, and possibly the production of flour, was a common practice, widespread across Europe from at least ~30,000 y ago. It is likely that high energy content plant foods were available and were used as components of the food economy of these mobile hunter–gatherers.  Anna Revedin, Biancamaria Aranguren, Roberto Becattini, Laura Longo, Emanuele Marconi, Marta Mariotti Lippi, Natalia Skakun, Andrey Sinitsyn, Elena Spiridonova, Jiří Svoboda. News from: Istituto Italiano di Preistoria e Protostoria  www.iipp.it 

~ Bilancino is an Upper Paleolithic (Gravettian) open air site located in the Mugello region of central Italy. The site includes an area of at least 120 square meters and, on the basis of paleoecological data, appears to have been occupied during the summer near a marsh or wetland some 25,000 years ago.The site is remarkable for its large lithic component, including nearly 15,000 artifacts, 1600 of which are burins of the Noialles facies, a type of stone tool associated with Gravettian occupations. Also included in the site assemblage is a grinding stone and grinder. Starch grains discovered on the surface of these artifacts suggest to researchers that Bilancino’s residents were grinding cattails (Typha spp) into flour.Bilancino was discovered in the early 1990s during the construction of an artificial lake; it was excavated under the direction of Biancamaria Aranguren and Anna Revedin at the Archaeology Department of Tuscany.  ~  GoodNews International

This video shows experimental reproduction of most ancient flour

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