Home Technology Prehistoric poo found in Wiltshire provides a touch concerning the cooking abilities of Stonehenge builders

Prehistoric poo found in Wiltshire provides a touch concerning the cooking abilities of Stonehenge builders

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Prehistoric poo found in Wiltshire provides a touch concerning the cooking abilities of Stonehenge builders

Ancient faeces discovered close to Stonehenge present its builders might have dined on badly cooked cow offal throughout epic winter feasts.

The weird discover at Durrington Walls, simply 2.8km from the traditional stones in Wiltshire, dates from 2,500 BC, when a lot of Stonehenge was constructed.

And an evaluation of the faeces discovered has uncovered proof of the eggs of parasitic worms.

This, say a crew of archaeologists, suggests the inhabitants feasted on the interior organs of cattle and fed leftovers to their canines.

The crew led by the University of Cambridge investigated 19 items of historic faeces, or coprolite, discovered on the settlement and preserved for greater than 4,500 years.

Five of the coprolites (26%) – one human and 4 canine – contained the eggs of parasitic worms.

The researchers recommend that is the earliest proof for intestinal parasites within the UK the place the host species that produced the faeces has additionally been recognized.

Lead writer Dr Piers Mitchell, from Cambridge’s Department of Archaeology, stated: “This is the first time intestinal parasites have been recovered from Neolithic Britain, and to find them in the environment of Stonehenge is really something.

“The sort of parasites we discover are appropriate with earlier proof for winter feasting on animals in the course of the constructing of Stonehenge.”

Raw or undercooked lungs

Four of the coprolites, including the human one, contained the eggs of capillariid worms.

While the parasites infect a wide range of animals, on the rare occasion that a European species infects humans the eggs get lodged in the liver and do not appear in stool.

The scientists say evidence of them in human faeces indicates the person had eaten the raw or undercooked lungs or liver from an already infected animal, resulting in the parasite’s eggs passing straight through the body.

“As capillariid worms can infect cattle and different ruminants, evidently cows might have been the almost definitely supply of the parasite eggs,” Dr Mitchell explained.

Previous analyses of cow teeth from Durrington Walls suggest some cattle were herded almost 100km from Devon or Wales to the site for large-scale feasting.

Co-author Evilena Anastasiou, who assisted with the research while at Cambridge, said: “Finding the eggs of capillariid worms in each human and canine coprolites signifies that the individuals had been consuming the interior organs of contaminated animals, and in addition fed the leftovers to their canines.”

Parasitology – it’s a thing

Prof Mike Parker Pearson, from UCL’s Institute of Archaeology, who excavated Durrington Walls between 2005 and 2007, added: “This new proof tells us one thing new concerning the individuals who got here right here for winter feasts in the course of the building of Stonehenge.

“Pork and beef were spit-roasted or boiled in clay pots but it looks as if the offal wasn’t always so well cooked.

“The inhabitants weren’t consuming freshwater fish at Durrington Walls, so that they should have picked up the tapeworms at their residence settlements.”

The findings are printed within the journal Parasitology.

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