Asian spices of aromatic herbs such as turmeric came to the Mediterranean Sea more than 3000 years ago. Long-distance trade in food was established as early as the Bronze Age. The banana, a millennial food in the Mediterranean, was one of them.
The archaeologist Philipp Stockhammer works for the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich (LMU). He worked with an international team to analyze food debris in tartar. He discovered that turmeric, bananas, and even soybeans were eaten in the Eastern Mediterranean during the Bronze Age. About 3,700 years ago. The study is published in PNAS.
“Exotic spices, fruits and oils from Asia came thousands of years earlier than previously thought,” says Stockhammer. He announced it in a statement. “This is the earliest direct evidence of turmeric, banana, and soy outside of Asia.”
It also shows that as early as the second millennium BC. There was already a flourishing long-distance trade in exotic fruits, spices and oils. It linked South Asia and the Levant through Mesopotamia or Egypt. Tracking down the roots of this emerging globalization has proven to be an ongoing problem. People obviously had a keen interest in exotic foods from a very early age.
Stockhammer’s international team examined 16 people from the Megiddo and Tel Erani excavations in what is now Israel. The southern Levant region served in the second millennium BC. As an important bridge between the Mediterranean, Asia and Egypt. C. They examined the kitchens of the Levantine population of the Bronze Age by analyzing traces of leftovers. They have been preserved in human tartar for thousands of years.
The human mouth is full of bacteria that are constantly petrifying and forming stones. Small bits of food are trapped and retained in the growing stone. These remains can be accessed thanks to the most modern methods.
The banana, ancient Mediterranean food, and many other spices appeared in these remains. The researchers sampled a large number of people at the Bronze from Megiddo site and at the Early Iron Age site in Tel Erani. They analyzed which food proteins and plant residues were preserved when calculating their teeth. “This allows us to find traces of what a person has eaten,” says Stockhammer.
Who would say: thousands of years later, it is beneficial for archaeologists not to practice good dental hygiene.