The Delicious Diets of Prehistoric Europe (Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze Age)

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What did ancient Europeans eat between 10,000 BC and 3000 BC? In the Mesolithic era, the hunter gatherers of Europe were thriving in a range of environments across the Continent. From 7,000 BC Neolithic farmers spread across Europe bringing a new way of life, new languages, beliefs and social structures. Then around 3,000 BC, another great change came with the spread of cattle and horse herders from their homelands on the Pontic steppe all the way to the furthest corners of Europe, heralding the beginning of the European bronze age.

These three eras saw huge social, linguistic, and genetic changes but what exactly did prehistoric Europeans eat?

--- Artwork ---

Artistic reconstructions of the ancient European people are by The Beaker Lady in collaboration with The Chad Pastoralist.

For more reconstructions and information about early Indo-European culture, history, and genetics, please follow their work on Instagram:


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--- Video Sources ---

The Horse, the Wheel, and Language - David Anthony: https://amzn.to/3aD3Rhu
The Rise of Bronze Age Society - K. Kristiansen & T. B. Larsson: https://amzn.to/3r0xkdU
The First Farmers of Europe: An Evolutionary Perspective - Stephen Shennan: https://amzn.to/3wNDcqA

Plant Use in the Mesolithic: Evidence from Staosnaig, Isle of Colonsay, Scotland - Steven Mithen (1999)
Irish Cepaea nemoralis Land Snails Have a Cryptic Franco-Iberian Origin That Is Most Easily Explained by the Movements of Mesolithic Humans – Grindon & Davison (2013)
Plant Use in the Mesolithic and its Role in the Transition to Farming – Zvelebil (1994)
Hazelnut economy of early Holocene hunter gatherers: a case study from Mesolithic Duvensee, northern Germany – Holst (2010)
Experimental archaeological exploration of Mesolithic techniques for hazelnut roasting – Lage (2011)
A drowned Mesolithic shell midden complex at Hjarnø Vesterhoved, Denmark and its wider significance – Astrup et al (2021)
A late Mesolithic shell midden at Kilnatierny – Murray (2011)
Diet and Mobility in the Corded Ware of Central Europe - Sjögre, Price, Kristiansen – (2016)

(and more)

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--- Video Chapters ---

00:00 What did ancient people eat?
01:25 Video Sponsorship
02:56 The Mesolithic Diet
06:24 Mesolithic Hazelnut Processing
07:50 Mesolithic Proto-Farming
11:38 The Neolithic Diet
13:29 Neolithic Dairy Consumption
14:57 A Fish Eating Taboo?
16:49 Neolithic Feasting
18:05 What did Steppe Herders eat?
20:16 Broader Bronze Age Diets
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