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Some liked it hot - even 7,000 years ago
5:39pm Thursday 22nd August 2013 in News
IT’S not just modern man that has a taste for spicy food – even out early ancestors liked to add some zing to their meals.
Archaeologists from the University of York have found evidence of the use of spices in cuisine way back at the transition from hunter-gathering to agriculture.
Working with colleagues in Denmark, Germany and Spain, they discovered traces of garlic mustard on the charred remains of pottery dating back nearly 7,000 years.
Lead researcher Dr Hayley Saul, of the BioArCH research centre at York, said: “The traditional view is that early Neolithic and pre-Neolithic uses of plants, and the reasons for their cultivation, were primarily driven by energy requirements rather than flavour.
“As garlic mustard has a strong flavour but little nutritional value our findings are the first direct evidence for the spicing of food in European prehistoric cuisine.”
She said their results challenged the view that plants were exploited by hunter-gatherers and early agriculturalists solely for energy requirements, rather than taste.
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