Ancient Syrian Diet in Play Thousands of Years Later

In Education

In recent years, there has been talk that bad eating habits and increased focus on refined and processed foods as the leading cause of obesity and other health conditions. While there have been suggestions for people to resort to what our ancestors ate, a new study suggests otherwise. According to findings by PLoS One, ancient humans were just like us and ate almost what we are eating today.

Ancient vs. Modern Diet

The new research findings indicate that inhabitants of Tell Tweini in modern-day Syria concentrated their diet on the healthy “Mediterranean diet” of today. Their diet focused mainly on wheat, olives, grapes, and some bits of bitter vetch. The diet was only supplemented by small amounts of meat and dairy.

In addition to the similarities in diet, researchers have also found that ancient people operated in the same ways as modern man. For instance, during periods of significant climate changes such as drought, the Tell Tweini people relied on robot agricultural practices and systems to ensure a constant supply of food.

Similarly, the inhabitants of the Bronze and Iron Age relied on advanced farming techniques such as crop rotation fertilization and animal manure. Additionally, they also engaged in irrigation to ensure a stable and constant supply of essential crops such as wheat, barley, and grapes, even during periods of significant drought.

Research Finding

The team of researchers came up with these findings on sampling ten plant seeds, 210 animal bones, and 16 human bones. Upon analyzing the isotopic data, the researcher discovered d13c values in wheat, barley, and olive pots that showed the ancient plans were well watered, suggesting they were primarily grown in wetlands and coastal areas. Irrigation could also have played a role.

The discovery of significant d15N values also indicated the considerable use of animal manure as fertilizer to enhance yields. The presence of d13C and d15N values in animal bones also signals that sheep, goats, and cattle grazed in similar environments.

The PLoS One research highlights the effectiveness of new scientific methods, such as stable isotope analysis, in bridging the gaps within archaeological history. By combining various sources of evidence from plant, animal, and human remains, the researchers managed to piece together the intricate relationship between climate, surroundings, and human decisions that contributed to Tell Tweini’s extraordinary endurance over two thousand years.

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