Historical Food Remains

Archeological sites where remains have been discovered of plant and animal products where the circumstances suggest they have been used as food by humans. Excludes remains of agricultural fields.

Connected Sites

Site Rationale Link
Ancient Thebes Tutanchamon Tomb (3,000 year old doum fruit)
Biblical Tells Wheat grains at Tel Hazor
Caves of Maresha and Bet Guvrin Chicken bones at Maresha
Caves of Yagul and Mitla corn cob fragments
Cilento and Vallo di Diano Small underground temple: "It's interesting to note that traces of two-thousand-year-old honey were found in some of the vases."
Danube Limes Passau Boiotro – Kastell (ID No 9b): In 1975 and 1977 charred plant remains were found in a layer of clay from the Horreums, which could be identified as grains of wheat, rye, barley and millet.
Djenné The discovery of organic remains, among which were a large number of African rice grains, shed much light on how the cultivation of rice developed (AB evaluation).
Frontiers of the Roman Empire carbonated remains of grains at Saalburg
Gyeongju Excert from National Geographic Magazine (August 1988) Kyongju, Where Korea Began by Cathy Newman (Concerning the Heavenly Horse Tomb) "We also found eggs in the coffin." "Eggs?" "Seven Eggs. One or two actually intact. To nourish the dead."
Incense Route of the Negev Shivta
Jomon Prehistoric Sites Food remains were found in several sites, e.g. in the Goshone Site "a large number of nuts (eg. chestnut, walnut, and horse chestnut), bones of fish (eg. salmon and trout), and bones of mammals (eg. deer and wild boar) have been unearthed. Together with tools that were used to gather, process, and catch them, they bear tangible testimony to the diverse food resources at that time." (Nomination file, p. 58)
Joya de Ceren ICOMOS : "the objects recovered constitute a virtual inventory of their contents at the moment of eruption .... and a variety of foods including maize, beans, chilis and cocoa beans"
L'Anse aux Meadows Butternuts
Lenggong Valley Gua Kajang: "During the 1917 excavation, fragments of pottery, stone tools, food residues and human skeletal remains were uncovered."
Liangzhu Archaeological Site "Two large-scale carbonized rice remains haven been found" (nom file)
Lopé-Okanda Nuts and crops
Lower German Limes The "layered rubbish deposits constitute veritable treasure-chests of everyday life on the frontier. Well-preserved animal bones, seeds and pollen permit the reconstruction of the surrounding landscape, the diets of men and animals, and the sources of supply with animal and plant food." (Nomination file, p. 50)
Mapungubwe Bones and ostrich eggs
Masada wheat, olives and dates
Medina Azahara historical food remains (discovered in the sewage)
Pompei Several food stalls have been uncovered, where "researchers found remnants of duck, goat, pig, fish and snails in earthen pots, sometimes combined in the same dish."
Prehistoric Pile Dwellings Besides stores of grain and waste from processing cereals, remnants of food have also been found on ceramic vessels in pile-dwelling sites; these include various types of stews, por- ridges and probably also baked goods.
Pyramids (Memphis) Blocks of halloumi cheese preserved for 2,600 years at Saqqara
Rapa Nui Palm nuts and animal bones were found in caves on the island.
Rome Archaeologists found seeds of fruits such as figs, grapes and melons in the drainage system under the Colosseum in Rome. Traces of olives and nuts were also found. These were probably eaten by the spectators as snacks.
Shahr-i Sokhta During these investigations several categories of botanical remains such as cereals (grains and legumes),fruits, spices and wood were studied. (Nom File)
Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Valley fossilised maize
Tsodilo fish bones and ostrich eggs
Çatalhöyük Bread


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