What did the ancient Egyptians eat?

A photo from open sources

According to recent studies, it turned out that many the ancient Egyptians were vegetarians. In fact, a habit consume a lot of meat for humanity is relatively new one. In ancient cultures, vegetarianism was much wider. more common than in the modern world, except perhaps nomadic tribes. Most sedentary peoples ate in mostly fruits and vegetables. French research team at using carbon analysis of mummies decided to find out what exactly The ancient Egyptians ate between 3500 BC. and 600 g AD All carbon atoms falling into the structure of plants in the process photosynthesis, are found in organisms of humans or animals eating them. In the periodic table, carbon exists as two stable isotopes: carbon – 12 and carbon – 13. These isotopes behave the same in chemical reactions, but have different atomic mass (carbon-13 is slightly heavier than carbon-12). Plants also are divided into two groups. The first group – C3, is the most common, it includes, for example, garlic, eggplant, pears, lentils and wheat. The second group – C4 includes such foods like millet and sorghum. Plant group C3 mainly absorbs carbon isotope – 12, while plants C4 prefer the heavy carbon isotope -13. Measuring ratio amount of carbon isotopes, scientists can easily distinguish these two groups of plants. French for their experiment the researchers decided to study the remains of 45 mummies that were in museums in France. They measured isotopic ratios in bones, enamels teeth and hair of the remains of mummies. Then compared the results with similar measurements performed on experimental pigs, who received a controlled diet consisting of various proportions of food products C3 and C4 groups. Since pigs have similar to the human metabolic system, these ratios are ideal suitable for comparing analyzes. Hair more active they absorb animal proteins than bones or teeth. It turned out that isotopic ratios in the hair of mummies correspond to those Available in the hair of modern European vegetarians. Scientists sure this is a confirmation of mass vegetarianism ancient Egyptians whose diet consisted mainly of wheat and barley, while millet and sorghum occupied only about 10 percent of the total diet. In addition, the study, conducted by archaeologists showed that the ancient Egyptians are beautiful adapted to changes in the environment. In times of drought the Egyptians grew crops along the Nile River, managing an effective irrigation system. However the Egyptians living along the coast of the Nile, practically did not eat fish. Archaeologists suggest that these restrictions were related, rather of all, with the religious beliefs of the ancient Egyptians, and not with their taste preferences.

Mummy Plant Time

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