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Researchers find unusual cereal-based rings from Bronze Age

ANI | Updated: Jun 06, 2019 17:15 IST

Washington DC [USA], June 6 (ANI): A recent study has found strange ring-shaped objects from the Late Bronze Age, which perhaps is a unique form of a cereal-based product.
Agricultural practices are well known in archaeological records, but less understood is how the food was produced and prepared by ancient cultures. In this study, researchers describe unusual cereal-derived rings from a Late Bronze Age site.
Between 900-1000BCE, this settlement was a centre of grain storage, and archaeological materials have been excavated from around 100 pits interpreted as grain storage pits, according to the study published in the Journal of PLOS ONE.
This study focused on the fragmentary charred remains of three ring-shaped objects, each around three centimetres across. Analysis confirms that they are made of dough derived from barley and wheat.
The authors were able to determine that the dough was made from fine quality flour and then most likely shaped from wet cereal mixture and dried without baking. This time-consuming preparation process differs from other foods known from the site, leading the authors to suggest that these cereal rings may not have been made for eating.
These rings also bear a striking resemblance to clay rings interpreted as loom weights found in the same pit and may have been designed to imitate them. The unusual context of these cereal rings and the care that went into making them suggested they may have been created for some unknown ritual purpose, thus expanding the list of ways the cultures of this time period are known to have used cereal products.
Since such remains are scarce, the authors suggested that future studies sample more intensely for similar plant-based products that may typically be overlooked.
One of the researchers, Andreas G Heiss added, "Prehistoric bakers produced so much more than just bread. A Late Bronze Age "odd" deposit from central European site Stillfried (Austria) yielded dough rings comparable to Italian tarallini, discovered together with a larger number of clay loom weights, likewise ring-shaped, resulting in new insights into the material culture of food, symbolism, and diversity of dishes." (ANI)

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