Ancient Journey of Spices from Asia to Mediterranean

Asian herbs such as turmeric and fresh fruits such as bananas reached the Mediterranean more than 3000 years ago, much faster than previously thought. A group of scientists working with archaeologist Philipp Stockhammer at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich (LMU) shows that even in the Bronze Age, the remote food trade connected distant communities.

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Market in the town of Megiddo when you look at the Levant 3700 years ago: Market vendors hawking not only wheat, millets or dates, which thrive throughout the region, but also sesame oil and brilliant cypress soup bowls. yellowness had appeared among their wares. Working by having staff around the world analyzing food scraps in tartar enamel, LMU archaeologists have found evidence that people in the Levant today consumed turmeric, bananas, and even soybeans up to the Early Bronze and Iron Age. “Hence the exotic spices, fruits and essential oils from Asia reached the Mediterranean several hundred years, in many cases even thousands of years, earlier than previously thought,” claims Stockhammer. This is evidence direct that after the next millennium BC there was a thriving long-distance trade in fresh fruit, spices and essential oils, which is thought to have connected South Asia and the Levant via Mesopotamia or Egypt. While substantial trade across the region is well documented in the future, tracing the origins of this nascent globalization has in fact proven to be an ongoing problem. The conclusion of this study concludes that long-distance trade in cooking goods has indeed connected the most remote societies at least to the Bronze Age. People must have been attracted to this is a unique delicacy from the very beginning.

For their analysis, Stockhammer’s international team examined 16 individuals from the current excavation of Megiddo and Tel Erani, based in Israel. The aim of this study was to investigate the cuisine of the Levantine Bronze Age population by examining food debris, including ancient proteins and plant microfossils, which remained preserved in individual calculus i.e. dental care for thousands of years.

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Human lips are high in bacteria, which continue to petrify and form stones. The small food particles are trapped and retained in the developing calculus and these are also small remains which will now be accessed for clinical studies to compliment cutting-edge techniques. The researchers sampled a number of people at the Bronze Age site of Megiddo in addition to the Early Iron Age website Tel Erani for an evaluation function. They analyzed which dietary protein and plant debris retained into the calculus in their teeth.

Paleoproteomics may be the title with this emerging industry which is new. These techniques could evolve into standard archaeological treatments, or more so researchers wish. Dental calculus is an invaluable resource for roughly where ancient people lived.”

The protein itself also needs to last for thousands of years beyond the grueling work of recognition. “Interestingly, we realized that allergy-related proteins were the most stable in human calculus,” said Scott, a finding that he feels may be a result of the known thermostability of many allergens. For example, the researchers were able to detect whole grains via the grain protein gluten said Stockhammer. The team was finally able to independently verify the presence of wheat using a form of plant microfossils called phytoliths. Phytoliths were also used to determine millet and date palms in the Levant during the Bronze and Iron Age, but phytoliths were neither numerous nor present in many foods, and that is why this new important protein is so innovative — paleoproteomics allows the recognition of foods that have few leftovers, such as sesame. . Sesame protein has been identified in the dental calculus of Megiddo and Tel Erani. “This implies that sesame developed into a staple in the Levant by the 2nd millennium BC,” said Stockhammer.

Two additional essential proteins are extraordinary, explains Stockhammer. In the dental calculus of one individual from Megido, turmeric and protein in the form of soy were found, while in other individuals the banana protein Tel Erani was identified. All three foods will reach the Levant via South Asia. Bananas were originally domesticated in Southeast Asia, where they have been used since the 5th millennium, and they arrived in West Africa 4000 years later, but little is known about their trade or use. In West Africa only a few hundred years later had actually indicated that this kind of trade could exist.

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Stockhammer notes that they cannot rule out the possibility, needless to say, that this one is linked to individuals investing part of their life in South Asia and using appropriate food only when they are there. Regardless of whether the level of imports of spices, oils and fresh fruits is unknown, there are many things to suggest that the trade is where it is, as there is also a variety of other exotic evidence in the East Mediterranean — Pharaoh Ramesses II was finally buried with pepper from India in 1213 BC. These pepper are present in their nostrils.

The results of scientific studies have been published in the PNAS log. This work is part of the Stockhammer project “Transforming Food — Transforming Food when you look at the Eastern Mediterranean in the Bronze Age”, which will be funded by Research which is the Council of Europe. The international team that created the research includes scientists from LMU Munich, Harvard University and the Max Planck Institute for Human History in Jena. The fundamental concern behind their project — and thus the starting point for this research — is to explain whether the early globalization of trading companies in the Bronze Age was also a concern.

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