Monday, May 07, 2007

Ancient People Near the Sea

Food History
Cro-Magnons who lived near the sea or who visited the coats had a rich source of food – fish, seals, sea birds, shellfish and seaweed. Those who dwelt inland could enjoy fresh water fish such as salmon, trout, eel and pike.

One of their ingenious inventions was the gorge – a baited sliver of bone attached to a line of leather or sinew. When a fish took the bait the gorge stuck in its throat and it was hauled in nets made from plant fibers or leather, have not survived, but the existence of small, grooved stones that could have been net weights suggest that nets were in use. Fishers also invented the leister, a three pronged spear. A fish was impaled on the central straight prong and curved prongs on either side stopped it wriggling off.

In the spring the salmon raced upstream to spawn. This was a gastronomic bonanza for Cro-Magnons, as huge deposits of scales and bones found in some places confirm. Salmon could be speared as they struggle through the shallows, and the crafty Cro-Magnons may well have piled up stones to form a trap. The fish would swim through the funnel-like entrance into pool from which there was no exit, except on the prongs a leister. Much of the catch was then dried or smoked and stored.
Food History