Phytoliths of garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) have been recovered from ceramic sherds from sites across Europe and parts of the Near East. The presence of this plant, that is not considered to be nutritional in any form, is argued to have been used to spice food. The ceramic sherds also had evidence of fish and animal residues. This study suggests that early agriculturalists were interested in spicing their food, too.
Flasks from modern-day Israel have been tested for residues, and the results suggest that these contained cinnamon. The discovery is even more interesting as it indicates that trade with the Far East was occurring, which is around 3,000 miles away, around 3,000 years ago. Archaeologists believe the dry bark would have been mixed with wine to flavor it, as it is done today.
An incredibly well-preserved stucco frieze was discovered at the Maya site of Holmul. Built on one side of a staircase tomb, located inside a pyramid, the frieze was painted with various colors and depicts important iconographic elements that shed some light on the ceremonies that were carried out to install a new king. Within the same pyramid, a tomb belonging to an individual, probably an elite, was also discovered.
Hair samples collected from three Incan child mummies has shown that these individuals consumed coca and alcohol prior to their death. In particular,one of the young girls seems to have consumed larger quantities of these substances prior to being sacrificed. Ritual sacrifices were part of Inca culture and it was considered an honor to be selected for this event.
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