World's Earliest Pit Barbecue?

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Tagged in: science , history


Remains of a 31,000 year-old mammoth and her calf have been discovered in excavations in the Czech Republic, reports Jiri Svoboda, a professor at the University of Brno.  The meats were cooked luau-style underground.  Svoboda said, "We found the heating stones still within the pit and around."  He believes that the central roasting pit and the circle of boiling pits “was sheltered by a teepee or yurt-like structure."  The researchers also found many stone tools, such as spatulas, blades and saws, which were probably used to butcher the mammoths, which could weigh up to twelve tons.  This is the earliest evidence found so far that early man invented the techniques still used today in Hawaii to pit-roast whole hogs.  Contributing editor Mike Stines describes the technique in his article, here.

The whole hog luau.

In a related story, Neanderthals hunted mammoths and dried their flesh to make prehistoric jerky, reports Bent Sorensen, a researcher in the Department of Environmental, Social and Spatial Change at Roskilde University.  But, he said, "I do not know of any evidence for (them) using salt."  He believes that they boiled the meat first and then dried it.  "As for preparation, boiling is much more efficient and nutrient-conserving than frying, and evidence from more recent Stone Age settlements confirm that meat was boiled in ceramic pots or skin bags," he said. "However, it is still likely that frying over the camp fire was the usual method in Neanderthal communities, since no containers for boiling have been found."



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