Published On: Sat, Jun 2nd, 2018

People Used Olive Oil for Cooking Hundreds of Years Earlier Than Previously Thought

Archaeologists discover ancient olive oil dating back to the early bronze age In Italy. From the early end of the 3rd century BC to the start of the 2nd century BC.

Olive oil is a basic ingredient in the Mediterranean cuisine for thousands of years. But now, it would appear that it has been there for even longer than previously thought.

Archaeologists discovered the healthy golden liquid has existed in Italy hundreds of years earlier than what anthropologists have previously recorded. Now it can be dated back to the Early Bronze Age. From the early end of the 3rd century BC to the start of the 2nd century BC.

A team of researchers at the University of South Florida, lead by Dr. Davide Tanasi, conducted a new chemical analysis to identify the content of large ancient pottery jar, found in the 1990s during the excavations at the site of Castelluccio, Sicily.

After archaeologists obtained the olive oil residue for tests, conservators at the Museum of Siracusa restored and reassembled 400 fragments of the egg-shaped 3 ½ foot jar that also had three handles situated on each side of it and adorned with rope bands.

 

Chemical analysis conducted on ancient pottery proves olive oil existed in Italy 700 years sooner than what's previously been recorded. Credit: Polo Regionale di Siracusa per i siti e musei archeologici Museo Paolo Orsi Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-05-italy-oldest-olive-oil-peculiar.html#jCp

 

Also discovered at the same site were other cooking utensils that included a plate constructed out of terracotta and special pottery that was used to keep objects to be cooked all together in one place, yet separated.

At the same architectural site, archaeologists found a large terracotta cooking plate and two fragmented basins with an internal septum, that was used to keep objects to be cooked all together in one place, but separate.

“The results obtained with the three samples from Castelluccio become the first chemical evidence of the oldest olive oil in Italian prehistory, pushing back the hands of the clock for the systematic olive oil production by at least 700 years,” said Tanasi.

The only known identification of chemical signatures of olive oil are from storage jars discovered in southern Italy in Cosenza and Lecce believed to be from the 12th and 11th century BCE (Copper Age).

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