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The processes that we humans go through to hunt, gather, farm, butcher, cook, and dispose of food are essential parts of our societies and cultures. In this chapter you have learned about the methods archaeologists use to study what the people of the past ate.

There are many ways we can gather information about past diet, but the only incontrovertible evidence that something was consumed by humans comes from preserved stomachs and feces.

Preserved human feces are often found in archaeological contexts. Their analysis is vital to our understanding of past food consumption and nutritional health. Preserved stomachs are rarer finds, though scientific analysis of the stomach contents of mummies continues to yield exciting information.

In a previous chapter you read about the Neolithic Tyrolean Iceman. Please read the following article about his stomach contents and use it and your book to answer the questions below.


Why did it take so long after he was found for the Iceman's stomach contents to be analyzed? How were his stomach contents located and extracted?


What does the presence of einkorn mean tell us about the Iceman's lifestyle? And why do researchers believe that the einkorn was ground into bread?


Based on his stomach contents, do researchers believe the Iceman was a vegetarian?


What did pollen analysis of the Iceman's stomach contents tell about when he died and where he came from?


Besides what was in his stomach, was any other food found with the Iceman's body?


Do you believe that the Iceman's last meal was representative of "normal" food for the time period? Give reasons for your answer.

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