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"Iron Age salt miners ate blue cheese and beer" Topic

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28 Dec 2021 7:58 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP20 Dec 2021 8:54 p.m. PST

"Fungi found in ancient feces recovered from the Hallstatt salt mines in Austria are the earliest evidence of people eating blue cheese and drinking beer in Iron Age Europe.

The salt mountains of Hallstatt in the Eastern Alps have been mined since at least the 14th century B.C. and mining has been continuous ever since. Excavations have unearthed multiple layers dense with evidence of mining activity during the early Iron Age (800-400 B.C.). Objects include wooden tools, fur, hide, wool and textile fragments, ropes and beautifully preserved human feces. These paleofeces, rapidly desiccated in the dry, perpetually cool and salty air of the underground mines, can be radiocarbon dated and analyzed to discover what people ate, what parasites they had, details about the microflora and fauna of their digestive system.

This study looked at three samples of paleofeces from the Bronze Age and Iron Age layers of the Hallstatt mine, and one sample from the 18th century. Even though the samples had been excavated as far as back as 1983, researchers were able to retrieve DNA and proteins that were almost entirely undamaged thanks to the rapid desiccation of the paleofeces in the salt mine environment…"
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Frederick Supporting Member of TMP21 Dec 2021 7:07 a.m. PST

Sensible chaps – iron mining gives you a powerful thirst

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP21 Dec 2021 3:24 p.m. PST



JMcCarroll21 Dec 2021 6:17 p.m. PST

Wow the smell must have been…. Disgusting!

Zephyr121 Dec 2021 10:11 p.m. PST

I imagine so; Blue cheese is nasty…

skipper John22 Dec 2021 10:38 a.m. PST

Blue cheese and beer… I'm surprised there was any substance to it at all!

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP22 Dec 2021 3:33 p.m. PST



Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP24 Dec 2021 12:12 a.m. PST

That sounds pretty good, actually, although I'll want some bread or crackers or something with it, and maybe cucumbers.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP24 Dec 2021 3:23 p.m. PST



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