Stonehenge’s Builders May Have Feasted on Mince Pies and Sweet Treats

2 12 2021

Excavations near the iconic English monument revealed traces of fruits and nuts.

  • Excavation work has been led by English Heritage at Durrington Walls, Wiltshire
  • Durrington Walls was inhabited by the builders of Stonehenge in about 2,500 BC
  • Evidence suggests traces of hazelnuts, sloes, apples and other fruits at the site 

Previously it was thought they had consumed pork, beef and dairy.

But excavations of the Durrington Walls settlement, inhabited by the builders of the monument in about 2,500 BC, suggest they collected and cooked hazelnuts, sloes and crab apples too.

Researchers said evidence of charred plant remains suggest they might have followed recipes to preserve the food.

There was no direct evidence for pastry being used, but people knew how to grow cereal crops and could have made pastry from wheat, hazelnut or acorn flour, English Heritage said.

Neolithic “mince pies” could have been baked on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire using a flat stone or ceramic pot heated in the embers of a fire, much like a Welsh cake, it added.

Travelers visiting Stonehenge this month can sample a dish that may have been enjoyed by the monument’s builders some 4,500 years ago. As Alex Green reports for PA Media, volunteers with English Heritage, the organization that cares for the prehistoric site, are cooking up mince pies with ingredients used by these Neolithic workers, including hazelnuts and crab apples.

‘We know that midwinter and feasting were really important to the builders of Stonehenge,’ said Susan Greaney, the charity’s senior properties historian.

‘Thanks to the Stonehenge Riverside Project, we’re lucky to have evidence which tells us that they had access to nutritious fruit and nuts, and that they may even have made and cooked recipes.’  

Durrington Walls is two miles (3.2 km) north-east of Stonehenge, but it’s located within the Stonehenge World Heritage Site.

Earlier this month, a a series of deep pits which were discovered at Durrington Walls last year were confirmed as having been made by ancient Britons – after some experts dismissed them as mere natural features.

The 20 pits, which are more than 30 feet across and 16 feet deep, are arranged in a circle shape around Durrington Walls.  

Stonehenge Relevant Links
Rock cakes? Stonehenge builders may have enjoyed mince pies – The Guardian
Stonehenge builders fuelled themselves on sweet treats including ‘Neolithic mince pies’, excavation suggests – Daily Mail
NEOLITHIC MINCE PIE RECIPE: Download open fire mince pie recipe card. English Heritage
Stonehenge’s Builders May Have Feasted on Sweet Treats – The Smithsonian
Visit Stonehenge and sample a mince pie – Stonehenge Guided Tours
Stonehenge builders had a sweet tooth, artefacts suggest – BBC News
Stonehenge builders fuelled themselves on sweet treats, excavation suggests – The Evening Standard
Private Guided Stonehenge Tours with the local experts – The Stonehenge Travel Company

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Ancient Craft at Stonehenge. Neolithic to Bronze Age living history!

2 03 2019

Ancient Craft will be at Stonehenge to demonstrate Neolithic to Bronze Age living history and crafts! Ancient Craft have decided to have two days focused towards the Neolithic and the second two on the Bronze Age. There will be a camp where you can watch crafts like flintknapping, cordage making, grain grinding, cooking and bronze casting! There will be two experienced prehistoric crafts people to show you lots of different objects and skills from the time of Stonehenge so don’t miss out!

EVENT DATE: 22nd April at 10:00 – 25th April at 16:00

ancient-craft

Details will be available on the English Heritage website soon!

What is AncientCraft?

AncientCraft is dedicated to the archaeology of primitive crafts and technologies during prehistory – mainly focused on the Stone Age and Bronze Age. This includes references to materials such as lithics (also known as “flintknapping”), wood, bone, horn, leather, metals and cloth (linen and wool).

AncientCraft was setup and is run by James Dilley, an archaeologist and craftsman who specialises in prehistoric technologies and has around 16 years experience of flintknapping and other ancient crafts. James has worked with museums and heritage sites such as The British Museum and Stonehenge as well as media companies such as the BBC, Channel 4, ITV, The Discovery Channel, National Geographic and Dorling Kindersley publishing. The outreach objective of AncientCraft is to encourage people of all ages to explore prehistory through their own research or by practising prehistoric skills. By working with museums or media outlets it is possible to provide a unique view of prehistoric archaeology as James is an academic at the University of Southampton with a strong practical background. It is this combination of academic understanding of prehistoric archaeology, and strong roots in crafts from the Palaeolithic – Bronze Age that makes AncientCraft one of the most popular prehistoric displays for museums in the UK and Ireland.
Their Facebook page shows some of the things James gets up to with AncientCraft across the UK and Ireland from living history events and workshops to some of the replicas being made for museum displays or film work.
You can also visit the website via www.ancientcraft.co.uk

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Celebrating the building of Stonehenge may have been as important to Neolithic people as worshipping there

11 03 2018

Building Stonehenge ‘may have been ceremonial celebration.

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English Heritage will begin moving a replica stone on Friday using teams of volunteers in an “experiential archaeology” project

The arduous task of building Stonehenge may have been part of a ceremonial celebration, claim historians.

The circle in Wiltshire was built more than 4,000 years ago using bluestones from south Wales – a decision which has long baffled experts.

Susan Greaney, from English Heritage, said they now believed that Neolithic people did not want to make “things as easy and quick as possible”.

Building the monument was as important as “its final intended use,” she added.

Experts have tried to discover why the people who built Stonehenge chose to use some stones from the Preseli Hills, about 155 miles (250km) away.

The stones were probably transported via water networks and hauled over land, using a huge amount of labour over the long and difficult journey.

Experts now believe the construction of the monument was just as important to Neolithic people as worshipping in it.

Read the full story (source) on the BBC website

 

Relevant links:
Party like it’s 2500BC: Stonehenge building secrets unearthed – click here

Bonding and booze secrets of Stonehenge exposed: Construction work on ancient monument 5,000 years ago brought people together – click here

Secrets of Stonehenge are bonding and booze – click here

Step into the shoes of Neolithic Man at Stonehenge – Click here

MOVING AND RAISING A STONE: 10th / 11th March 2018 – Click here

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Have you ever wondered what it would have been like for our Neolithic ancestors to bring the giant sarsen stones on the 20 mile journey from Marlborough Downs to Stonehenge?

7 03 2018

Now you can find out at one of our special workshops. Working with a team of other visitors, try your hand at moving and raising a 4 tonne limestone block using ropes, rollers and pulleys.

MOVING AND RAISING A STONE: 10th / 11th March 2018

moving-raising-stone-stonehenge

DATE: Sat 10 & Sun 11 Mar 2018
TIME: 10.30am, 1pm and 3.30pm

LOCATION: Stonehenge Visitor Centre
SUITABLE FOR: Everyone

 

Vist the English Heritage Website for full details

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Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest Stonehenge News
http://www.Stonehenge.News








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