Ancient cooking pots found in NorthamptonshireAndy Chapman/University of Bristol/PA Wire By New Scientist staff and Press AssociationMedieval peasants mainly ate stews of meat and vegetables, along with dairy products such as cheese, according to a study of old cooking pots. Researchers analysed food residues from the remains of cooking pots found at the small medieval…
Medieval peasants mainly ate stews of meat and vegetables, along with dairy products such as cheese, according to a study of old cooking pots.
Researchers analysed food residues from the remains of cooking pots found at the small medieval village of West Cotton in Northamptonshire. The pottery covers a period of around 500 years during the Middle Ages.
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By identifying the lipids, fats, oils and natural waxes on the ceramics, the team found that stews of mutton and beef with vegetables such as cabbage and leek were a mainstay of the medieval peasant diet. However, dairy products such as cheese also played an important role.
“All too often in history, the detail of the everyday life of ordinary people is unknown,” says Julie Dunne, at the University of Bristol, UK. “Much is known of the medieval dietary practices of the nobility and ecclesiastical institutions, but less about what foods the medieval peasantry consumed.”
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Dunne and her colleagues also examined a range of historical documents for their study, finding that medieval peasants ate meat, fish, dairy products, fruit and vegetables. The team say that, prior to this study, there was little direct evidence that this was the case.
Journal reference:Journal of Archaeological Science, DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2019.04.004
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