All Hail Cheese: Ancient Food of the Gods
Most of us around the FWx offices are partial to cheese, but apparently we don’t revere it nearly enough. The ancient builders of Stonehenge thought so highly of it that they sacrificed it to the gods. Either that or they had a serious case of lactose intolerance.
New research from archaeologists from the University of York and University College London published in the journal Antiquity looked at the eating habits of people who lived in the Durrington Walls section of the Stonehenge World Heritage Site about 4,500 years ago. What they found were residues in many of the old pottery fragments revealing what sorts of food they held. Pots from residential areas, where people ate, showed signs that they were used to cook meat. Pots from ceremonial areas held dairy products.
The archaeologists deduced from this that the ancients at Stonehenge offered up cheese, milk and yogurt to a higher power while forcing themselves to eat more “impure” items like meat. Seems like a waste of perfectly good cheese; also, if the gods didn’t actually come down and pick up the goods, it seems like it would become a smelly proposition pretty quickly.
One other interesting finding by the team: Because the evidence points to the residents of Durrington Walls cooking and eating communally, it suggests that the group viewed each other more equally than many societies of the time and built the massive structures at Stonehenge without the use of slavery.
So while they might have thrown away a lot of cheese, they were, at least, nice to each other. We’d say those two balance out.