Research reveals peasants in medieval England ate a diet of meat stew and cheese

Image from University of Bristol

Cheese has been part of the human diet for millenia, but new research shows that it was not only a food for the wealthy. Researchers at the University of Bristol analysed food residues found in ancient cooking pots in Northamptonshire which were dated to be from a 500 year period of the middle ages.

By identifying the lipids, fats, oils and natural waxes on the ceramics, the team found that stews of mutton and beef with vegetables such as cabbage and leek were a mainstay of the medieval peasant diet. However, dairy products such as cheese also played an important role. 

Before this research there was little evidence of the diet of peasants over that period so this is an important discovery.

The paper the research team produced is entitled:

Reconciling organic residue analysis, faunal, archaeobotanical and historical records: Diet and the medieval peasant at West Cotton, Raunds, Northamptonshire

Read more on this subject on the University of Bristol Website or on the New Scientist website.

You can get hold of the paper itself by following this link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2019.04.004


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