Brits Ate Roasted Toads Much Before French, Reveals Wiltshire DigBy Staff Reporter
Britons' long-running joke made at the expense of frog-eating France has come back to bite them. A recent archaeological dig in Wiltshire has found evidence of prehistoric Britons eating frog legs 8,000 years before it became a delicacy of France.
The excavation near Stonehenge found a small, partially burnt leg bone of a toad, dating between 7596BC and 6250BC in April. The finding of burnt humerus of a toad indicates that the Britons' prehistoric ancestors snacked on amphibians. It is considered to be the earliest evidence of a cooked toad or frog leg.
"We were completely taken aback. They would have definitely eaten the leg because it would have been quite big and juicy. Frogs' legs are full of protein and very quick to cook: the Mesolithic equivalent of fast food," senior research fellow in archaeology at the University of Buckingham and team leader David Jacques, told Guardian.
Mesolithic Wiltshire community not just feasted on toads' legs, but several other attractive delicacies.
Apart from the charred toad's leg bones, the team, which consisted of Mesolithic period experts, also found other clues of pre-historic Britons' diet at a site called Blick Mead in the town of Amesbury, about 85 miles (135 kilometers) west of London.
They found the remnants of salmon, nuts, small fish vertebrae bones of trout, deer, boar and burnt aurochs bones (the ancestor of domestic cattle) from the Mesolithic site.
"There's basically a Heston Blumenthal menu coming out of the site," said Jacques. "We can see people eating huge pieces of aurochs, cows which are three times the size of a normal cow, and we've got wild boar, red deer and hazelnuts. There were really rich food resources for people and they were eating everything that moved but we weren't expecting frogs' legs as a starter."
"It would appear that thousands of years ago people were eating a Heston Blumenthal-style menu on this site, one and a quarter miles from Stonehenge, consisting of toads' legs, aurochs, wild boar and red deer with hazelnuts for main, another course of salmon and trout and finishing off with blackberries," Jacques said in an official statement.
According to BBC, the goal behind this excavation was to verify Amesbury as the UK's oldest continuous settlement. The dig, which will go on until October 25, is being led by the University of Buckingham.
"This is significant for our understanding of the way people were living around 5,000 years before the building of Stonehenge and it begs the question - where are the frogs now?" Jacques told BBC.
This latest revelation was based on a report by fossil mammal specialist Simon Parfitt. Parfitt, a Natural History Museum and University College London researcher, described the Mesolithic menu (might be leftovers from a meal of roast toad) as 'really intriguing.'