It was around 26,000 years ago that the people living in ancient Southwest France decided that they had a favorite food – very favorite, for that matter. Prior to this discovery, the people had occasionally treated themselves to a hearty dinner of reindeer meat… but they began to ask themselves, why only occasionally? And with a large supply of reindeer to be found in the area – not to mention how tasty they were – why not eat them on a more regular basis?
In fact, so many ancient reindeer bones were found in this area of Europe that the people even began to use the bones to do things like carve calendars into them, use the bones as counting devices, and fashion them into ornamental pieces.
Two recent studies on the consumption of reindeer in ancient times analyzed bone remains from rock shelters and limestone caves, in order to learn things like: how the meat was butchered, information about the reindeer population, and how far the hunters had to travel in order to find the reindeer. The remains showed that around 64,000 years ago, the humans living in these caves had to travel a significant distance to hunt reindeer, and would then only bring back the best cuts of meat to their community.
Over time, the population of reindeer increased at a significant rate – which meant the hunters didn’t have to go far at all to find a good source of nutritious meat. Eventually, 90% of the human populations’ meat came from reindeer, and nearly all parts of the animal were being eaten – and the remaining parts used to create other items.
Talk about a reason for getting coal in your stocking…
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Tomorrow: More Ancient Standard!