Medieval food basket: what to eat British farmers
The researchers analyzed organic remains at the site of one of the medieval villages.
May 20, 2019 at 15:56
Scientists at Bristol University have just found the diet of medieval peasants. Study leader Julie Dunn (Julie Dunne) explains that historians often focus on biographies of famous people, nobles and clerics, while the “heroes” of everyday life remain in the shadows. Meanwhile, the diet of ordinary people is key to understanding the lifestyle and traditions of those times.
According to historical records, medieval peasants ate meat, fish, dairy products, fruits and vegetables, but the evidence that before no one was looking. Researchers from Bristol conducted a chemical analysis of organic residues on pottery and bones of animals found in one of the earliest villages in vest-cotton (West Cotton), in the County of Northamptonshire.
It turned out that the peasants mostly ate butter, cheese and beef stew and lamb. The most common vegetables in the peasant table was leek and cabbage, but fish, fruits or delicacies expected was a simple luxury. However, experts call this diet healthy and balanced: milk, stewed meat and vegetables were sources of protein and other mineral elements, and carbohydrates come from barley or oat bread (traces of it were found in the ruins of the bakery).
“Western cotton was one of the first archaeological sites we worked on when we decided to develop a method of analysis of organic remains, – it is amazing how using the latest techniques we can learn information that is not in any historical documents,” said the colleague, Julie Dunn, Professor Evershed (Evershed).
In addition, this information can help you to learn about the development of agriculture and animal husbandry in early Medieval England. Find out about the other sensational discovery made by scientists at the University of Bristol.