Periodic Reporting for period 3 - PLANTCULT (Identifying the food cultures of ancient Europe: an interdisciplinary investigation of plant ingredients, culinary transformation and evolution through time)
Berichtszeitraum: 2019-04-01 bis 2020-09-30
PLANTCULT addresses all these questions and using ancient plant food ingredients and actual plant foods, attempts an insight of prehistoric cuisine in Europe, from the Aegean to Central Europe, spanning the 7th-1st millennia B.C. At the same time the project has collected available published evidence on plant food ingredients, plant foods, grinding tools, cooking pots and cooking installations in order to a) offer a comprehensive approach to prehistoric culinary practice and b) make available a large body of data to the scientific community via the project's data-bases.
PLANTCULT is contributing significant new data on ancient plant foods, bringing together finds from 43 archaeological sites from Greece, Bulgaria, Austria, southern Germany and Switzerland. It is also developing a solid methodology that will be used in archaeology for the study of ancient plant foods. When the project finishes in 2021 we will have unveiled several culinary secrets of prehistoric Europe: a panorama of breads, porridges or other cereal based-foodstuffs, alcoholic beverages, medicinal plants and condiments, natural sweeteners and the ways these were prepared and consumed will be made available.
Our PLANTCULT research does not only generate new knowledge about past plant foods or new methodologies to analyse them. The project moves beyond archaeological inquiry and connects the culinary past to a lively modern culinary landscape, interacting with the general public and the food production sector, especially Small and Medium Enterprises as well as ordinary people still cooking traditional recipes under threat of extinction. Our research focuses on a very important aspect of human culture: food. We eat to have energy, we also eat, however, to celebrate, to commemorate, to remember people no longer with us. Food acts like a 'glue' that connects people. Searching among the archaeological finds of foods we are searching the roots of what has led to our modern culinary landscapes. Our research highlights how some foods we have identified in the archaeological record still persist on our tables today. In this way the past becomes the present. In times where the prevailing trend is a 'fast food' cuisine, our research promotes foods with roots in prehistoric times, foods with the dynamic to continue in future generations due to their special nutritional qualities.
In PLANTCULT we are very much interested in communicating our research to the modern consumer, educate young people about traditional foods rooted in prehistory and learn from the old generation recipes thus safeguarding them for future generations.
A solid methodology to identify ancient plant food preparations like gruels, porridges, breads, ground cereals, split pulses, alcoholic beverages is being developed.
A solid methodology to explore the origins of arboriculture in the study area is being developed.
An overview of culinary practices and their changes through time, from the Aegean to Central Europe in Prehistoric and early Historic times will be generated. PLANTCULT results will form the basis for a recipe book thus communicating the project's results to the wider public.