Archaeologist typically dig around thinking they will find artifacts, ancient tools, or animal bones. But every now and then, they make an unexpected and exciting food discovery!
In 2013, the Smithsonian magazine ran an article about archeologists discovering wine that seemed to be almost 4000 years old! The ancient wine cellar was discovered in the Near East, and is said to be the largest and oldest ever found. It belonged to ancient Canaanites, and based on scientific evidence, the wine contained components like tartaric and syringic acid, together with other flavorings like honey, mint, cinnamon, and juniper berries. We are not sure whether anyone actually tasted it, but irrespective, such a tasting would certainly be a most extraordinary experience (given that it is safe to consume of course)!
Honey is an ancient sweetener and has been produced for thousands of years. It’s also a regular find in archaeology, and there’s an interesting reason behind this. In ancient Egypt, pots of honey were often buried with the deceased, and was believed to assist them in their journey into the afterlife. So, it’s no wonder that recently, archaeologists found vessels with honey thought to be 5000 years old! But the really amazing thing about this find, is that the honey remained unspoiled!
The oldest chocolates ever to be found so far, dates back to 1902. While it might not be thousands of years old, it’s still pretty cool to see how chocolates were presented almost a century ago. The box, which comes from Scotland, is quaint and is said to commemorate the coronation of King Edward VII.
In 2010, archaeologists found a strange black substance in a tomb from the Shaanxi Province in China. Upon further inspection, they discovered it was actually a 2000-year-old piece of beef! After carefully analyzing the beef (of which most has been carbonized), they established that the beef would have been dried before placing it in the small pot. This makes sense as drying beef would have been a way of preserving it in ancient times (apart from curing/pickling).
If you think noodles is a modern invention made for students and bachelors, think again! In the early 2000s, archaeologists found the oldest noodles at the Laija archeological site in China. The story behind it? Well, experts say that a bowl of millet grass noodles were left behind in a haste to get away from an ancient earthquake. The disaster created sediment in a way that preserved the noodles, making it possible to be found 4000 years later!