Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Ancient edibles

Soup pot found underground in China
In December 2010, the Provincial Archaeological Institute of Shaanxi announced the discovery of a bronze tripod in the capital of Xi'an during construction at the city's airport. The vessel is 1 of 3 found in the ancient tomb of a high-ranking official or relative of the Qin king. One vessel had not survived intact, but was found next to the remains of some beef ribs. A second contained an odorless liquid believed to be wine. The third (1st image, being examined by archaeologist Liu Daiyun) held a murky liquid and bones turned green by verdigris and has been identified as 2,400-year-old soup. As Liu remarked, "It's the first time Chinese archaeologists have unearthed such a container with bone soup still inside." The contents were sent to the institute's laboratory for preservation immediately after they were unearthed, and will undergo further analysis to detail the soup's contents and shed new light on ancient eating habits.

Jars of food found underwater off the coast of Italy
In August 2012, Italian authorities announced the discovery of an ancient Roman merchant vessel discovered 18mi off the coast with a full cargo of more than 200 amphorae. After fishermen caught some potsherds in their nets, police sent down a remotely-operated vehicle and located the nearly intact ship at a depth of 200' (videos here and here). "There are some broken jars around the wreck, but we believe that most of the amphorae inside the ship are still sealed and food filled," said Lt. Col. Francesco Schilardi. Tests on the recovered jars (2nd image, with member of the Carabinieri Subacquei) reveal that they contain the remnants of 2,000-year-old pickled fish, grain, wine, and oil. The site has been secured until the Italian government decides whether or not to raise the vessel.
Food in the cabinet is a bit stale:

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