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Stone Age foodies enjoyed poached freshwater carp eggs

Scientists analyzing ancient food gunk discover people 6,000 years ago had rather sophisticated recipes.

A closer look at remnants of the Endmesolithic fish caviar meal discovered via protein analysis of food crusts from a bowl unearthed in Germany.

Anna Shevchenko

Freshwater carp eggs cooked in a fish broth in an earthenware bowl sealed with leaves might sound like the latest foodie trend, but this enticing-sounding dish was actually eaten 6,000 years ago in Germany, according to a new study.

The ingredients were identified by a team of scientists led by Anna Shevchenko from the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology in Dresden, Germany.

The team analyzed proteins in ancient food gunk stuck on a ceramic bowl radio-carbon dated to the Mesolithic period around 4,300 B.C. 

The bowl was is one of about 150,000 objects excavated from the Friesack 4 site, located in the Brandenburg region near Berlin, according to Cosmos Magazine

According to a study on the bowl analysis published Nov. 28 in PLOS One, analysis of ancient proteins can help determine species-specific elements that better help scientists confidently identify animals and plants.

This in turn gives better clues to various cooking methods and recipes.

This study not only explains the importance of the relatively new field of protein analysis called proteomics, but also better disrupts the stereotype that Mesolithic hunters were unskilled cooks who merely ate crude pieces of meat cooked over a fire. 

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