A Moment of Science

Cookin’ With A Caveman

As it turns out, caveman culinary capabilities may be more advanced than we thought!

mortar and pestle

Photo: Casey Bisson (flickr)

Ancient versions of the mortar and pestle where used for crushing and grinding.

Did you know that cavemen were making their own flour a whole 20,000 years before farming was developed?

Neither did we! Italian researchers recently discovered evidence showing how our ancient ancestors ground plants to make flour.

Cave Kitchen Utensils

Grinding tools found in ancient cave dwellings were thought to be used only for crushing orche for paint. There was evidence of cave painting, but nothing indicating that these tools could have had culinary purposes too.

The new findings in Italy, Russia, and the Czech Republic have changed all this. Starch grains were found covering the ancient grinding tools buried there. The grain found was not the typical grains that we are accustomed to farming today, such as wheat. It was a combination of stems, roots, and leaves from cattails and ferns.

Flintstone Flatbread

This means that the grain flour was not used in traditional bread making. However, it is proof that cavemen did more than just eat their plants raw. They most likely mixed this flour with water to make flatbread or soup.

This evidence shows that caveman culinary expertise went a little farther than just basic hunting and gathering!

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Molly Plunkett

is a journalism student at Indiana University and an online producer for A Moment of Science. She is originally from Wheaton, IL.

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