Archaeology and Climate Change

Hurricane Ida raged from August 26th– September 3rd, creating havoc and devastation throughout the United States. Ida hit Louisiana first, but continued Northeast, causing flooding, and taking the lives of over sixty people across the country. Even here is Indiana, Pennsylvania, we experienced Ida’s continued wrath with several inches of rain.

Many scientists attribute the increase of storms such as Ida to climate change. With the burning of fossil fuels mainly from transportation (which includes not only vehicles, but also ships, planes, and trains), electricity production, and industry, we see the atmosphere and oceans warming up. This leads to more moisture in the atmosphere and more frequency in storms across the states, as water vapors are more easily able to be evaporated into the atmosphere from the oceans.

Tracks and intensities of all storms reaching Category 4 or 5 intensity (>59 m/sec) in the GFDL hurricane model downscaling experiments. Results are shown for the control climate (upper left); CMIP3/A1B 18-model ensemble late 21st century (lower left); and CMIP5/RCP4.5 18-model ensemble early (upper right) or late (lower right) 21st century. All results shown are based on model version GFDL. Track colors indicate the intensity category during the storm’s lifetime.

The question remains, how does climate change affect archaeology?

Archaeologists face changing coastlines, the warming of the artic and alpine regions, and severe storms like Ida. With sea levels rising, floods increasing, and coasts eroding, archeologists are at risk of losing sites along bodies of water. Melting ice caps and glaciers are releasing sites, artifacts, and even human remains from their frozen and preserving tombs. Escalations in dangerous weather events can affect sites through harsh rainfall, landslides, and even intense winds. For example, although stone is quite durable, more exposure to the elements like water will amplify deterioration from dissolving salts.

What is being done and what can we do?

Sites can be surveyed, excavated, backfilled, sheltered, but the sad reality is that not everything is going to be protected, preserved, or saved. However, recently a new approach to this issue is being addressed by a team of researchers led by anthropologist Ariane Burke from the University of Montreal, to pursue the archaeology of climate change. This group uses archaeological and climate records to determine how our ancestors faced and surpassed environmental challenges. Archaeology can bring a new understanding to how humans in the past adapted to changing climates and use that knowledge to inform smaller regions of strategies to address these global environmental changes.

For example, a solution put forth has been to study indigenous groups farming methods as a shift from industrial farming, and their traditional fire management strategies to help decrease wildfire threats. Many surmise that in places like Mesopotamia, sea levels may also have risen, leading to developments towards irrigation and cities. Perhaps there are new ideas not yet explored, or innovations not yet discovered that could provide protections against climate change. Researchers believe solutions might also lie in climate models, which are experimented with using data from the past for solutions to future scenarios.

Whatever your views on climate change, archaeologists need to be aware of the effect storms and severe weather can have on archaeological sites. Using cultural diversity as a means to find new solutions is a great start. Archaeologists can use the past to help people face climate change today in new and innovative ways.

For Further Reading:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2021/09/03/hurricane-ida-numbers-surge-wind-pressure-damage/
https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2021/08/29/how-climate-change-helped-make-hurricane-ida-one-louisianas-worst/
https://www.indianagazette.com/news/police_emergency_and_courts/idas-effects-arrive-in-indiana-county/article_b649d9d9-f3ea-5533-b61e-fd9158f453b7.html
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-hurricane-ida-got-so-big-so-fast/https://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/global-warming-and-hurricanes/
https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/sources-greenhouse-gas-emissions
https://patch.com/california/san-francisco/how-climate-change-affects-archaeology
https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidrvetter/2021/07/23/how-archaeology-could-help-deal-with-a-new-old-enemy-climate-change/?sh=20935410686f
https://www.pnas.org/content/118/30/e2108537118

 

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Rachael Smith Thesis: Using XRF to Resolve Commingling of Human Remains

My workspace while conducting XRF analysis

My thesis uses x-ray fluorescence and trace element analysis to determine if it is possible to resolve commingling using the elemental composition of human bones.  X-ray fluorescence is a type of non-destructive element identification method that bombards a sample, in this case bone, with high energy x-rays which excite atoms causing them to release energy which is specific to each element.  The XRF device measures which elements are detected and at what concentrations in parts per million.  Commingling occurs when multiple skeletonized individuals are mixed together in a single assemblage.  There are a variety of events that can cause human remains to become commingled.  These can include single events such as disasters and mass graves, or over multiple events like a reused burial area.  When archaeologists come across these commingled assemblages it can be difficult to get any useful information from it.  It is important to attempt to resolve the commingling and identify individuals because more specific research questions can be answered, and it might be possible to return such individuals to their loved ones.

This project focuses on the possibility of using the non-destructive

The XRF at work analyzing a vertebra

XRF to resolves commingling which can then lead to identification of individuals.  The remains are from the Arch Street Project which houses the burials that were excavated from the First Baptist Church Cemetery in Philadelphia, PA.  To do this, I have three main research questions: is there elemental variation within a bone, is there variation within an individual, and is there variation between individuals.  For the within bone variation, I sampled six bones (cranium, humerus, tibia, femur, sacrum, and os coxa) at different locations.  I then used RStudio analyses to compare the values for each sample locations for each bone.  For the within individual variation, I tested these six bones plus three vertebrae, clavicle, and a rib.  The last analysis I conducted compared all these bones between the individuals.  For all analyses, I used RStudio which has been an interesting adventure into statistics.  The statistics I used included nonparametric statistics, two-way ANOVA, and a multivariate ANOVA known as a MANOVA.  The last and overarching analysis I will conduct is a mock commingling which will be used to either prove or disprove my hypothesis that XRF can be used to resolve commingling.

The results that appear when the XRF finishes it analysis. The peaks indicate elements and concentrations

The theory behind this project is that overtime elements such as zinc, iron, and even lead replace the calcium in the hydroxyapatite that makes up the bone.  The individual’s metabolism, physiological health, and exposures to chemicals during life can determine the concentrations of each element within the bone.  Because each person has different physiologies and different life experiences, I believe the element concentrations within their bones will also be different.  The main question is are they different enough to separate individuals.  Another problem is that bones vary in density and thus element concentrations based on the location on the bone and the type of bone being sampled.  Trabecular bone is porous and less dense than cortical bone which makes up the shaft of long bones.  The trabecular bone might have different elemental concentrations but is also much more susceptible to diagenesis or the changes that occur post-burial.  Diagenesis can change the elemental concentrations within bone.  One particularly common diagenetic contamination is lead which can be introduced into the bone through soil and ground water.  There are a lot of factors that can impact the elements within bone.  My hope is that this research will be able to identify useful methods for distinguishing individuals in a commingled assemblage and allow the reassociation and identification of those individuals.

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Commonplace and Miraculous

President Joe Biden taking the Oath

While a few aspects of the US Presidential inauguration are set in stone, such as the Oath of Office and the date, many other aspects are left up to the president-to-be.  The decisions of those presidents and the culture, ideals, and innovations of the time and made each inauguration special in its own way.  Today’s inauguration is anything but an exception.  Not only is president-elect Biden being swore in during a global pandemic, first with a female and minority

Presentation of the flags

vice-president, first First Lady with a doctoral degree, the first masquerade themed inauguration, and the first to have the ceremony and capitol guarded by thousands of military and law enforcement personnel as protection from domestic threats.  President Trump is not the first president to decline attending the inauguration of a successor.  In 1801, President John Adams was the first to refuse to attend the swearing in of President Thomas Jefferson.  He was followed by John Quincy Adams and Andrew Johnson.  Actually, the first time both the incoming and outgoing presidents arrived at the ceremony together was in 1837 when Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren rode in the same carriage.

The election itself was filled with challenges, but again, this is not the only one.  One of the most dirty and combative elections was the 1828 race between John Quincy Adams (who lost and did not attend the inauguration) and Andrew Jackson.  Jackson’s marriage to Rachel Donelson Jackson was brought into legal and moral question by Adams.

Lady Gaga preforming The National Anthem

After Jackson’s inauguration is when things got really out of hand.  Things began as normal on March 4, 1829, when newly inaugurated Andrew Jackson hosted an open house at the White House, a tradition started by Thomas Jefferson.  Soon the White House was crammed with over 20,000 party animals basically turning the event into one huge raging house party you might see on a college campus, even down to the washtubs full of juice and whiskey on the front lawn.  With social distancing requirement, that is not likely to happen this year.

Vice President Kamala Harris taking the Oath

While I write this post, I am watching the inauguration on live stream.  Bill Clinton’s inauguration was the first one to be live streams.  This one looks quite different from other’s I have watched.  The lack of spectators is quite shocking.  This is an extremely historic event regardless of the year, state of the nation, and president and without the thousands of people spectating, it feels someone lack luster.  What was not lack luster in the slightest was Lady Gaga’s performance of The National Anthem, J Lo’s performance of America the Beautiful, and Garth Brooke’s performance of Amazing Grace.  And the Pledge of Allegiance recited by Fire Captain Andrea Hall who not only led the pledge but also signed it.  The poem “The Hill We Climb” was written and presented by Amanda Gorman the youngest inaugural poet.  This poem was intense and inspirational, and just simply amazing.  Along with the many firsts of today our first minority and female Vice President was given the oath by Sonia Sotomayor the first Latina justice in the Supreme Court.  The entire ceremony went off as planned, peacefully, happily, and with a little bit of snow magic. “Democracy has prevailed” (President Biden Inauguration Speech)

The past year has seen an unprecedented amount of upheaval, tragedy, and all-around crazy events.  2021 did not start off, as many had hoped, with a chance for a new start.  Hopefully, the new leadership in the country will help to initiate a new and better 2021.  I hope to see the unity President Biden called for in his speech.  This inauguration both lives within the words of Ronald Reagan and expands upon them.  The 59th Presidential Inauguration was indeed “commonplace and miraculous”.

 

*Photos taken as screenshots by me while watching the inauguration on the Biden Inauguration Committee Youtube Channel*

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Let’s Go Ghost Hunting

Ghost stories are an extremely popular form of entertainment and even education.  Many historical sites give ghost tours and authors compile all the tales of specific areas to publish in one collection. This is especially true during the month of October and Halloween when we feel closer to the supernatural.  Archaeologists work with ruins, remains, and up close and personal with the ghosts of these stories.  Many of us have likely been asks if we have seen a ghost or what was the most haunted place we worked and have told our best creepy tale in response.  Ghost stories and archaeology can work hand in hand and often do.  April Beisaw in her 2016 paper Historical Archaeology as Ghost Hunting discusses the idea of our interactions with ‘ghosts of place’.  These are not your typical ghosts that pop out and say “BOO” but are the memories and phenomena attached to a particular place.  The excavations and research conducted by archaeologists are able to bring the ghosts of places to the present and inform the public about their existence.

Ghost hunting can also be used to teach history.

Ghost stories tell the same stories that archaeologists do.  Neither tales contain all the information and leave plenty of holes, specifically names, dates, and other specifics.  For example, we are excavating a set of ruins. We can tell that they were a house, likely during X time period, and were inhabited by this culture.  Likewise ghost stories have a house where a person died which was followed by a series of events when now led to the haunting.  Most of those stories are based in reality which archaeologists can help to find.  Archaeologists as storytellers and truth seekers bring memories and ghosts from the past into the present.  Along with the physical remains of things the ghosts left behind the ethnographies we rely on are also their own form of ghost stories.  While not always about ‘ghosts’ (memories of people) they are always about phenomenological ghosts like previous traditions and ways of life.  Memory is a form of ghost because it is the past which is in the present.

Using ghost hunting to educate the public is a great way to gain interest and make a lasting impression.  Such tours (mostly of historical sites) engage the public by used their interest in the paranormal.  But those tours also have a wealth of information about the sites.  The histories of the site are just as important to the tour and the visitors as the actual ghosts.  Without the backstory, the ghost doesn’t exist.  Archaeology can be difficult to communicate to the public and more often than not, people go straight to the paranormal and morbid questions.  So why not use that interest to our advantage.  The haunted Native American burial ground that people like to talk about can be explained by archaeologists and its importance can be better communicated through the cultural background and the who, why, how, and when.  The stories with the best reactions are always those that involve something creepy and unexplainable.  There will always be those things that cannot be explained, and ghost stories allow for those holes to remain.  In those cases, it is important that a person died in a specific room and less important to know their name or date of death.  The event can tell a story and can feel much more acceptable when told as a story instead of a fact. Just remember if you are going ghost hunting as for permission first.

Paranormal detecting instruments for your phone

Archaeologists ‘hunt’ ghosts of places and tell their stories.

For an interesting podcast about this topic check out here

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Life in a Mask

IUP has officially started again so it’s time Trowels and Tribulations got back into action.  One of IUP’s new policies regarding COVID-19 is that all students must wear masks.  Masks are a culturally significant item that is present in many different countries and used in a variety of rituals from burials to rites of passage and religious practices.

One of the most famous masks was discovered my Heinrich Schliemann in his 1876 excavation of Mycenae in Greece.  During his excavations, Schliemann’s team discovered a large grave circle, now called Grave Circle A, in which a number of burials were discovered.  Five of these burials contained gold burials masks.  Schliemann concluded that one of these burials and masks belonged to the legendary Greek hero and king Agamemnon. While never actually authenticated by Schliemann as Agamemnon, this particular mask was the most spectacular and thus associated with the hero king. Unfortunately for the often overly fanciful Schliemann the burials were later dated to 300 years after the Trojan War in which Agamemnon fought and thus were not likely to be associated with him.  The most interesting point about this mask is that it is so perfectly preserved and distinctive that some scholars believe it to be a hoax, which Schliemann is known for doing.  Along with the mask looking completely different from the others, Schliemann himself acted in a suspicious manner around the time of his discovery.  He had left the site for two days just before it was discovered and then closed the site directly after its discovery.  While not suspicious in itself, he was known to purchasing and commissioning replicas of objects, such as the bust of Cleopatra found in Alexandria, and planting them in his sites.  Despite these doubts of authenticity, other gold masks have been recovered from the grave circle and appear to be authentic. (For more click here and here)

 

Three Mycenaean masks all of gold.  The middle is the Mask of Agamemnon.  It has much more distinctive features, extended ears, larger eyes, smaller forehead, and a well groomed beard and mustache that is not present on the other two.

Three Mycenaean masks all of gold. The middle is the Mask of Agamemnon. It has much more distinctive features, extended ears, larger eyes, smaller forehead, and a well groomed beard and mustache that is not present on the other two.

Red, white, and blue eagle head mask that opened in the center of the beak to reveal a human-like face of the same color pattern

Transformation mask that when opened reveals another face

I little closer to home, masks are used my name Native American traditions (modern and past) in rituals and ceremonies. One very interesting mask type is called transformation masks and are commonly worn by tribes along the Northwest Coast of North America. Transformation masks are made from wood and decorated to look like animals, ancestors, or mythical beings.  The wearer can manipulate the masks using strings so at specific moments in the ceremony, the performer will transform into another creature or ancestor by opening up the mask.  They are most well known for being used during Knakwaka’wakw potlatch ceremonies during which the masks can convey status and genealogy. Many other tribes throughout North America use masks in their ceremonies. However, because of the materials they are made from, wood, leather, and other degradable materials, they are not often recovered in archaeological contexts.  Some tribes such as the Cherokee nearly lost the mask making traditions when they were forcible removed from traditional lasts.  Fortunately, Native American artists are working to restore these lost traditions. (To learn more click here)

12 image of various stone masks with hollow eyes and no hair.  Each has different facial features and expressions. Most have teeth carved into the mouth

Ancient Neolithic stone masks

The oldest masks in the world were discovered in 1983 in Nahal Hemar cave along the Dead Sea.  The masks date to around 9,000 years and were also discovered with the oldest known glue along with baskets and beads. Some masks still show pigment meaning that they were likely painted.  These stone masks weigh between one and two kilograms (about a 2-4 pounds) are each unique to one another and possible represent particular people. The actual use of these masks in unknown but Dr. Debby Hershman of the Israel Museum theorizes that they were likely worn by tribal leaders or shamans during burial and other death rituals.  Since the masks have holes for the eyes, mouth, a dent for a nose, and small holes on either side of the face, it is likely they were worn by a person. (View sources here and here)

Masks have been an important part of history and are still important today for more than just ceremonial practices.  These masks were used to symbolize ancestors or spirits.  They were not worn everyday and help great powers over those who did wear and likely those who made them.  Our masks do not share the same transformative powers, but they are important.  Keep on wearing your masks and make a story out it.

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Extra! Extra! Archaeology in the News!

Archaeology has a strong presence in the news.  It is rare that I don’t find some new discovery or article about relating to archaeology while scrolling through my Facebook news boards.  Recently, some very interesting research has been released to the public.

The Crew of the Mary Rose

The Mary Rose is a ship build for Henry VIII King of

Image of the Mary Rose

Tudor England. It sank in 1545 while fighting the French and lost its crew of 400-600 sailors.  Recent studies on the ancestry of the crew have discovered some very interesting things.  Based on the 10 discovered skeletons, most of the crew were from the Mediterranean and Southern Europe.  On member in particular, dubbed Henry, was found to be from Morocco or Algeria based on his skeletal features.  Isotope analysis of his teeth indicated, however, that he was raised in Portsmouth. To read more about Henry and the Mary Rose so to BBC’s article here.

Archaeology is the….dog’s poop….

Dog poop

Recent research conducted on paleofeces discovered that many of the samples thought to be human were actually dog.  Christina Warriner and her graduate student collected DNA samples from both human and dog poop and a variety of other elements that could end up in poop and created a program called coprolID which has the ability to differentiate between the samples.  The increased amount of dog poop in the record may not shed too much light only human patterns but it has the potential to increase our knowledge of dog domestication.  To read more check out the article in Science Magazine here.

A Feast of Sharks and Dolphins

Crab claws broken and eaten by Neanderthals

For a long time fishing has bee n seen as a hallmark of modern humans.  The earliest site of mass seafood consumption dates to 160,000 in southern Africa.  New evidence indicates that Neanderthals in Figuera Brava in Portugal also consumed large amounts of seafood including sharks, dolphins, eels, shellfish, fish and a variety of other species some 106,000-86,000 years ago.  Evidence shows that seafood consisted of 50% of these Neanderthals’ diets, a percentage similar to modern humans of the time.  To read more see BBC’s article here.

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Site Tour: Mouns Jones House, Douglasville, PA

I wanted to try to do a video tour of a site I work at with SPA.  This is the Mouns Jones site which is a 1716 Swedish house within Morlatton Village along the Schuylkill River.  Much of the area around the front of the house (facing the river) has been excavated along with a large cold cellar.  We are expanding our site to a location along the river about a quarter-mile from the house to investigate the possibility of trading post with the Native Americans in the area.  Enjoy the tour.

Video:

 

Heather Lash Thesis: Foodways of Pre- and Post-Emancipation African Americans at James Madison’s Montpelier

Written by Heather Lash

Archaeology at Montpelier from montpelier.org

For many people, consuming food is one of the best parts of each day. The act of eating provides for most, a moment  to rest, spend time with family, and relate to others. It is especially pleasing for individuals who enjoy preparation and cooking of foodstuffs. And while the act of eating is universal, it is not associated with positive connotations for all people. In fact, the way a person is shaped and influenced by their cultural norms and traditions influences the way they associate with food, foodstuffs, and foodways. Foodways –  the cultural, economic, political, and social aspects involved in the act of eating – influence the production and consumption of food-related materials. These overlapping spheres of influence effect the creation and continuation of foodways and food traditions within cultures.

 

 

By focusing on the daily act of eating, and all processes involved in production and consumption of food, the agency of communities and individuals can be illuminated. Reconstructing food processes contributes to better understanding one aspect of daily life that introduces choice based on preference. In my thesis, “Foodways of Pre- and Post-Emancipation African Americans at James Madison’s Montpelier: A Zooarchaeological Analysis of Food Preference and Food Access,” I explore African foodways through Zooarchaeological identification and analysis. By matching each bone to IUPs Zooarchaeological Comparative Collection, and determining the presence and absence of different animals in the collection, Trends describing preference of food and access to foodstuffs can be clearly differentiated. At James Madison’s house, Montpelier, located in Virginia, the need exists for pre- and post- emancipation subsistence practices to be contrasted, compared, and evaluated. Therefore, detailing differences and similarities between one group of enslaved individuals and one free family across the Montpelier property can also delineate post-Emancipation effects on food procurement and the utilization of foodstuffs.

Map created by Heather

The Montpelier plantation is located in Orange, Virginia, about 30 miles north of Charlottesville. The main house was built by James Madison Sr. and then later occupied by former President, James Madison Jr., and his family from 1764 to 1844. Throughout their “Retirement Period” (1809-1844), the period of significance for this research, James and Dolley Madison hosted guests for celebrations and cookouts. Preparation of the festivities were facilitated by their three groups of enslaved individuals—domestic enslaved individuals, artisans, and field hands (Reeves and Greer 2012:73). These enslaved individuals formed a large community across the plantation before emancipation, 1764 to 1860. After emancipation, formerly enslaved individuals, such as George Gilmore, were responsible for their own subsistence. This juxtaposition of two time periods provides a comparison for pre- and post- emancipation food preference and consumption trends.

 

Map of Montpelier Site created by Heather

Modification of food was a very important way of continuing and reinforcing traditions. The application of African traditions to foodstuffs, food preparation, and food consumption due to the repetition of social actions (i.e. tradition), resulted in an identity linked to food. This Africanization, recognized as the modification of available resources, applied to foodways, and contributed to a phenomena that embodies much of the South, and is known as “Soul Food.” Focusing on Enslaved African and Black Freedman culture helps provide an outlet for African voices; individuals overlooked as creators of their own history and culture. Overall, foodways help conceptualize the story of perseverance and strength of pre- and post- emancipation families.

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Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show

As discussed in last week’s post, Janee Becker’s thesis is investigating The Wigwam, the former home of Major Israel McCreight and campsite for the Native American performers in the famous Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.  Along with his partner Dr. W.F. Carver, William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody, opened his Wild West show on May 19, 1883 in Omaha Nebraska.  His show included cowboys (and girls), Indians, military formations, mock battles and hunt, trick shooting and riding, and creative storylines connecting all performances.  Buffalo Bill’s and many other rival Wild West shows often depicted major events occurring in the mysterious wild west, all while promoting the idea of westward expansion.  Americans were not the only people fascinated by the West.  Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show opened in London on May 9, 1887 and traveled throughout Europe.

Native Americans played an extremely important role in the show. For the most part, they were treated and paid well, able to travel with their families, and able to retain their traditional ways of life.  Despite these positive aspects of the show, they were still viewed as warlike savages preventing the expansion of civilization into the West.  The Native American victory at Little Big Horn was even used to show audiences why westward expansion is needed.  In the 1890s Buffalo Bill’s employed hundreds of Native Americans, vastly outnumbering the number of cowboys and cowgirls.

Women were also included in the Wild West Shows.  Some had spotlighting roles as sharpshooters like Annie Oakley and Princess Wenona, the Indian Girl Shot (Lillian Smith) while others portrayed rancheras and Indian captives.  Lucille Muhall even made a name for herself as a roper and Rough Rider.  According to records from Buffalo Bill’s women performers were paid the same as men.  African Americans also participated in Wild West shows, although in minor roles.  They often portrayed cowboys, were members of the all-black 9th and 10th US Cavalry units, or as part of the band.

These live shows declined in the early 1900s with the introduction of television and movies and the increasing popularity of sports.  World War I also created problems for the shows.  The Miller Brothers 101 Ranch Real Wild West show had all of their horses taken for the war effort performing in Great Britain in August 1914.  The Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show went bankrupt in July 1913 and in 1917 both the industry and Buffalo Bill Cody had passed.

Source: https://centerofthewest.org/learn/western-essays/wild-west-shows/

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Thanksgiving Feast

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

As we all begin preparing for the family feast, let’s return to the first Thanksgiving which happened in 1621.  What would this feast look like?  What food would they have? And how does that differ from what we have now? Many of you are probably aware that the traditional turkey and cranberries are species native to America, and even more specifically the New England area where the first feast took place.  For this comparison, I will look at what ingredients are native to America, however, not specifically to New England.  Many of the food we love to have for Thanksgiving are actually native to South America.

I will begin with one of my favorite side dishes, green bean casserole.  Green or String beans have been cultivated in Mexico for over 7,000 years.  They actually originated in Peru and migrated North overtime.  The Spanish explorers introduced green beans to Europe in the 16th century.  In New England “Three Sisters” Corn, Beans, and Squash were present. Although they might not have been green beans. But for you Corn Casserole lovers, corn was definitely present.  And squashes that would be used for pumpkin pies, although the spices would have been different.  Other than the green beans, a major component of green bean casserole is the cream of mushroom soup.  Mushrooms would be available for gathering but the cream is not native to America.  Cattle were brought to the Americas with the European colonists.  Bison are similar to cattle but were never domesticated and they do not have the large utters for milk producing seen in the domesticated cows and thus cannot be milked.

Moving on to arguably the best part about Thanksgiving, the stuffing (or dressing)!  Stuffing is made with bread.  Bread as we know if (Loaf) is from the Old War.  Egypt, Rome, India, Persia, and many other counties have been making variations of bread from wheats and like grains for many thousands of years.  In the Americas, corn was ground and made into meals and tortillas.  Mexico is still famous for tortillas, a bread-like flat baked dough that they have been making since 100 BC.  There were forms of bread present, although I do not know if tortillas would work in stuffing.

The final side I will be talking about is the potato.  Whether you use them for mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, or part of your stuffing, they remain a family favorite side dish, especially with gravy.  Most people associate the potato with Ireland and the Potato Famine.  However, the Inca grew potatoes since 8,000-5,000 BC.  The potato plant produced a rather pretty purple star shaped flower that the French aristocracy, Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI, wore it in their clothing.  Not only can you have your mashed potatoes, but you can also make a nice centerpiece with the flowers.Thank you for reading this blog and enjoy your New and Old World food with all your family and friends.

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