Thursday, October 13, 2005

Culinary archaeology: Millet noodles in Late Neolithic China

Although not related to Mediterranean archaeology, the discovery mentioned below is simply amazing. (seen at: Nature).

Noodles have been a popular staple food in many parts of the world for at least 2,000 years, although it is debatable whether the Chinese, the Italians or the Arabs invented them first.

Chinese archaeologists have recently discovered a prehistoric sample of noodles contained in a well preserved, sealed earthenware bowl at the Late Neolithic site of Lajia in northwestern China. They have identified millet as the source of the abundant seed-husk phytoliths and starch grains present in the vessel. This shows that the conversion of ground millet flour into dough that could be repeatedly stretched into long, thin strands for the preparation of boiled noodles was already established in this region 4,000 years ago.

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