Innovating in food
Knowledge of the raw materials with which to prepare food would have been of vital importance at a time of changes in production such as the Early Neolithic. The accumulation of knowledge from an earlier period, handed down from generation to generation, would have been a basic factor in the gradual adoption of agriculture and stockbreeding.
For example, at La Cueva del Toro, wild plants continued to be those most commonly used by the communities, with cultivated plants in the minority. Among the latter we find wheat, barley, vetchling, lentils and beans; and among the former, by far the most common were acorns (the finds of which as an item of adornment are significant evidence of the importance placed on this fruit) and wild olives.
Meat was obtained from goats, sheep, pigs and bovines, as well as from game such as rabbit and hare. The latter tell us that hunting was more likely to have been carried out with traps and slingshots than with bows and arrows. The types of food mentioned and the shapes of the pottery vessels ─taller rather than wider─ in which the game was cooked and eaten, tell us that they tended to prepare soups and stews. In summary, they speak to us of knowledge, innovation and technology in food preparation.
Pictures: procuring food, food processing, hunting and grazing. Illustrated by Miguel Salvatierra