Saturday, February 4, 2017

Ötzi's Last Meal

Reconstruction of Ötzi
Photo by Thilo Parg 
(Wikimedia Commons)
Remember Ötzi?  The Stone Age man whose well-preserved body and state-of-the-Stone-Age-art outdoor equipment was found some decades ago in the South Tyrol?  Believe it or not, further analysis of Otzi's remains has yielded information that bears upon the history of food.

A recent article from reports that German researchers have used non-invasive techniques to examine the contents of Ötzi's stomach and have concluded that his last meal was "very fatty, dried meat, most likely bacon" from a wild goat.  The article can be read here.  Judging from this description, it seems that what Ötzi had was more like bacon jerky, goat bacon cut and dried to preserve it.  Dried meat would make really useful, easy-to-carry food in the mountains where he was travelling.  

Think about that the next time you see bacon jerky in your local supermarket or on the Internet. Don't let modern ad copy fool you; some foods, especially dried foods, go way, way back.  

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