Another blog post from our President, Dr. Debra Reid:
I have heard the most amazing things at the Food History Conference I am attending at the moment. I have heard about how archaeobotanists have studied hundreds of sites in Europe, the Middle East and China to document the transfer of western crops (particularly wheat and barley to the East, and the transfer of millets to the west).
One of the presenters, Xinyi Liu, a graduate student in the Department of Archaeology at Cambridge University, has posted a description of his research into isotopic analysis of pollen and seeds found in China sites on the “East-West Millet Project” homepage: http://www.arch.cam.ac.uk/millet/index.html
Other papers have analyzed bread in the ancient and medieval worlds. Archaeologist Delwen Samuel shared information about bread found in the Tomb of Kha at Themes, dating from 1400 BC. She has analyzed the grain in the surviving loaves, the stone tools used to grind the grain, the ceramic molds used to form the loaves, and the ovens. She has also experimented with grinding the grain using similar tools, and has even baked loaves of a comparable constitution in replica ovens. So far, not so good, she’ll admit, but the work continues, and you can read more about it at: http://www.ancientgrains.org/
The conference concludes tomorrow but I overheard several conversations about future conferences. I am talking up ALHFAM (and AIMA) with the hopes that members of both can share their expertise with kindred spirits eager to learn more about food history. For more information about the conference, see: http://anglo-american.history.ac.uk/, and stay tuned for at least one more post on the subject.