Raw Honey in Ancient History
Did you know that honey been part of humans diet for thousands and thousands of years?
Ancient times when refined sugar was not known, sweat foods were very rare. People did enjoy sweet fruits in its season or dried, but honey was the ultimate source of sweetness, a rare treat. It was difficult and dangerous to obtain honey from wild bees, but humans took the risk, it had always been worth it for the reward.
Archaeologists working in Egypt made an extraordinary discovery, during the archaeological excavation of the tombs of the pyramids.
They were shocked when uncovered some terracotta jars in the tombs of the pharaoh, containing raw honey. Among other things, the honey was placed there for the afterlife, symbolising wealth and providing a gift for the gods and possibly a sweet treat for the Pharaoh afterlife.
Analysing the samples of the honey, they estimated the age of the raw honey was approximately 3000 years old. For their surprise the raw honey found in the pots was still perfectly edible, just became crystallised/ set.
The secret of raw honey surviving this many years is in its composition. Hydrogen peroxide, acidity and minimal water content make honey lasts forever, it has an eternal shelf-life.
The ancient Egyptians used honey for many purposes, for example as a sweetener, ingredient of embalming fluids and as a gift for the gods. Thanks to the hieroglyphs and ancient Egyptian artworks depicting beekeeping scenes, we did know that humans have worked with bees for thousands of years, but we were not sure how far our connection with bees went back.
Thanks to a recent discovery by the researchers of the University of Bristol, analysed pottery from prehistoric vessels and found evidence of early farmers using beeswax as far back as the Stone Age.
In the study released, scientists discovered that humans have been using bee products, like honey and wax for at least 9,000 years.
"Now we know that beeswax was used continuously from the seventh millennium BCE, probably as an integral part in different tools, in rituals, cosmetics, medicine, as a fuel or to make receptacles waterproof," said researcher Alfonso Alday.
Previous studies were only able to date the use of bee products to around 2,400 BCE.
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