Subscribe to Archaeology

What’s In Your Cooking Pot?

Friday, August 28, 2020

Fats Ceramic PotsDUNEDIN, NEW ZEALAND—According to a statement released by Scientific Reports, Melanie Miller of the University of Otago, Helen Whelton of the University of Bristol, and Jillian Swift of Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum and their colleagues cooked the same ingredients once a week for a year in unglazed ceramic pots, and then cooked a different dish in each pot to see what sort of residues were left as charred remains, inner surface residues, and lipids absorbed by the ceramic walls. The recipes used in the experiment included wheat, maize, venison, and a variety of other ingredients. The study indicates that charred food remains in the pots were left behind by the last meal that had been cooked. The thin layer of residue on the pots’ inside surface was mostly made up of the last meal cooked in the pot, with a mixture of the previous meals. Fats absorbed by the ceramic were replaced more slowly, and represent a mixture of ingredients cooked over time. The results of the experiment could help archaeologists understand what was cooked in ancient pots over time, and how long a pot might have been in use. Read the original scholarly article about this research in Scientific Reports. To read about residue analyses of sixth-millennium B.C. vessels that revealed evidence of cheese-making, go to "A Prehistoric Cocktail Party."

Advertisement

Advertisement


Advertisement