Subscribe to Archaeology

The Earliest-Known Chicken Dinners

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Maresha chicken bonesHAIFA, ISRAEL—Archaeological evidence suggests that chickens were used in cockfighting in Southeast Asia as early as 8,000 years ago, and that the birds and the sport reached the Levant some 5,000 years ago. Now more than 1,000 chicken bones have been unearthed at Maresha, a city that flourished in what is now southern Israel between 400 and 200 B.C., on the trade route between Jerusalem and Egypt. Here there were twice as many female bird bones as males, and the bones showed signs of butchering, indicating that the birds had been raised for meat, and probably eggs. “This is a matter of culture. You have to decide that you are eating chicken from now on,” Lee Perry-Gal of the University of Haifa told NPR. Just one hundred years later, chickens had spread across Europe. For more on chicken's significance in the archaeological record, go to "Polynesian Chickens in Chile."

Advertisement

Advertisement


Advertisement