An ancient dinner has been unearthed and intact from about 1600 years ago in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta, Canada. The meal was unearthed in what was once a roasting pit and we don’t know yet just what the meal was composed of but hopefully soon will.
This ancient cuisine was found on the Blackfoot Reservation Territory at a place known as “Head-smashed-in-buffalo.” This site is also a UNESCO heritage site. Apparently, this was a place where the Blackfoot ran buffalo off of a cliff as it was a frequent way of hunting the animals. This “buffalo jump” was used for almost 6000 years as far as we can tell and the cliff itself is about 36 feet high. Natives would dawn the skins of wolves and coyotes to scare the near-sighted Buffalo who would stampede and follow the leader right off the cliff. A rather easy, but dangerous, way to get them!
Many cultures from around the world used cooking pits like the one in Alberta. The one there was a roasting pit that was perfectly intact with the meal nicely sealed still inside! These “earth ovens” are a sure indication of human civilization in an area as well. Such earth ovens are basically a hole dug into the ground used to trap heat and bake the food placed inside them. They were also used for smoking meat or steaming other foods. This particular pit was lined with rocks and willows. Heated rocks would be put into the pit and then the meat was put into it. The entire pit was then covered over with soil and vegetation and left to cook, steam, or smoke for several hours or maybe even for the entire day. You can actually built one of these at home! Some people put a 55 gallon drum into the ground which is the same principle. The food that comes out of these earth ovens is FANTASTIC!!
The ancient meal was found in the center of the pit or Earth Oven under several layers of bones, artifacts, and soil. The ancient cuisine is presently being held at the Royal Albert Museum where it will be analyzed to see what it consists of. Now you might be wondering why an ancient people just abandoned such a meal and frankly we don’t know. Maybe they had to leave the area quickly due to some unknown danger. Maybe they got into a family squabble and forgot to eat! Whatever the case I’m happy they left their meal behind because I want to know what it consists of. I bet buffalo meat is definitely part of it.
Bon Appetit everyone!! 🙂
You can read more about this extraordinary find at the following links: