When you think of hunter gatherers you probably think of fearsome cavemen going out hunting for large prey in a life and death battle against nature itself. That or just goofy, cartoony cave people. It turns out that they might have had an easier time than we thought, as tortoises found to be enjoyed regularly by hunter-gatherers.
The Qesem Cave near Tel Aviv
The Qesem Cave was found all the way back in 2000, as an accident. A road crew was working on a construction project somewhere near Tel Aviv, when a piece of rock collapsed, exposing a cave which turned out to be a large trove of ancient fossils and tools.
Seven miles east of Tel Aviv, the cave turned out to be an invaluable source of knowledge, allowing researchers to investigate the homes of Paleolithic humans for the past 16 years and still come up with new material to show them new things.
It is believed that the cave was the home of at least a tribe of Paleolithic humans, since most of the artifacts found there are about 200,000 years old. Among the artifacts are bones, utensils, and food remains.
The discovery was made by Dr. Ran Barkai, archaeologist at the Tel Aviv University.
Slow food for the ages
And speaking of food remains, the most recent discovery by a team of archaeologists consisted of a bunch of tortoise shells and bones, found in such a manner that they suggested being eaten in various ways.
According to the experts, there were multiple ways in which the tortoises were cooked. Some were boiled in their shells, others were killed and fried, while others were taken out of the shells and cut up into small pieces.
It is believed that the tortoises served as a supplementary dish, perhaps as dessert or an appetizer. Additionally, the evidence shows that it was not a one-time thing, and that the tribe ate tortoises quite regularly.
The fossils being those of hunter-gatherers, it wasn’t known that they usually had foods like tortoise. There is evidence of game animals in the cave as well, like wild horses and cattle, and even fallow deer. Vegetables were also a huge part of the hunter-gatherer’s diet. And apparently, so was tortoise.
Currently the team is examining another series of bones found in the cave, this time coming from birds. It is yet unknown if the birds were eaten by the tribe or if they simply died in the cave, but the researchers are in the process of finding out.
Image source: Pixabay