This is a series of articles about human relationship with oaks and acorns through history. Particularly I am trying to document the human consumption of acorns and it's importance for the development of agriculture. 

The latest archaeological data is showing us that the first cultivated starch food in Evroasia was acorn and that it could be the processing of acorns that started what we call today an agriculture, mass cultivation and processing of food. So this series of articles is basically covering evolution of human societies from nomadic hunter gatherers to settled agriculturalist. 

There are still few articles to publish so watch this space :)

Oaks, Acorns and People

I will start with this question: Have you ever wandered why oak trees and oak groves were considered sacred in the past? Maybe the reason is that oaks are one of the most useful trees in the world. 

You can read more here:

In my last post I talked about Oaks and how useful they were and are to people. The last thing that I said in my last post is that acorns had been eaten by humans since at least late Paleolithic times right up to modern times, and that I would write about acorns and acorn eaters in my next few posts. In this post I will write about archaeological evidence we have for human consumption of acorns during the Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, Copper age, Bronze age and Iron age. I hope you find the data presented in this post as eye opening as I did find it, and that you will start seeing acorns in a completely different light from now on.  

You can read more here:

Why are Thunder deities which are linked to oaks also linked with agricultural cults? Maybe because the first corn was acorn, the fruit of the thunder tree, oak...I am continuing my articles about oaks and acorns. I hope you will find this one interesting.

How did hunter gatherers start to eat acorns? How did they get the idea to invent all the technologies and tools necessary for gathering, storing and leaching acorns? What are the procedures and tool which our hunter gatherer ancestors used for gathering, storing and leaching acorns? How did our hunter gatherer ancestors cook the acorns, and turned them into food? And what type of food was most commonly made from acorns? Did acorn kick start the Mesolithic to Neolithic transition milleniums before any cereal was anywhere to be found?

These are the questions that I would like to answer in this post. I hope you will find it an interesting read.

You can read more here:

In my post about oaks I talked about the oak tree and how useful this tree was and still is to people. In this post I would like to explain why I believe that people were as useful to the oak trees as the oak trees were useful to people. I believe that the influence that people had on the distribution of oaks in Europe could have been far greater then it is currently accepted. I think that the northward spreading of oaks from their glacial refugiums after the last ice age was actually the result of the northward spreading of humans from the same refugiums. I believe that it was humans who brought the oaks to the north of Europe. Let me explain why I believe that that was the case.

You can read more about this here:
In my post about eating acorns, I said that people had to invent quite a few things in order to move from eating acorns as occasional snacks to eating acorns as staple starch food. One of these acorn eating inspired inventions was a grinding stone. At the moment the earliest dated grinding stones were found in Upper Paleolithic sites in China (found to have been used for grinding plant food including acorns) and in Mesolithic sites in Morocco and Levant (found to have been used for grinding plant food including acorns). But I firmly believe that even earlier ones will be found. Also the latest paleobotanical data actually confirms that the food traces found on the grinding stones found in a lot of early "agricultural" sites were actually of acorns, which meant that the grinding stones in these societies were primarily used for grinding acorns.

Thousands of these grinding stones are found all over North America and they are always clasified as acorn grinding stones because we know from the ethnographic evidence that this is what they were used for.

Exactly the same stones are found in their thousands in Ireland, where they are called bullaun stone but they are also found scattered accross the rest of Europe too. But while in North America, these stones are classified as grinding stones, in Europe we "don't know what they are and what they were originally made for".  

Now am i the only one who sees similarity between the acorn grinding stones from North America and bullaun stones? Have a look for yourself and let me know what you think. If any of the Irish bullaun stones was found in North America, they would have been immediately classified as acorn grinding stones. How is it possible that "we still don't the precise original use of these stones"? Ireland was once covered with mighty oak forests and people who lived in these oak forests must have eaten acorns like all the other oak forest dwellers did. And if we find the same type of hollowed stones in Ireland that we find in North America, and if in North America these stones were used for grinding acorns, then these Irish stones must have been used for the same purpose.

I believe that bullaun stones were not classified as acorn grinding stones primarily because until very recently we did not realise how ubiquitous consumption of acorns was in the northern hemisphere. Maybe its time to re-evaluate the bullaun stones and reclassify them as acorn grinding stones. I also believe that the earliest examples of bullaun stones probably date to Mesolithic and Neolithic time and that they predate the arrival of agriculture to Ireland..

You can read more here:

I already wrote abut bedrock mortars in my article on Bullaun Stones. In that articles I compared the yet unclassified European bedrock sites with classified North American bedrock mortar sites. I then asked whether the European  should be also classified as bedrock mortars, considering that they are functionally identical to the North American ones. 

In this article I would like to present some new (to me :) ) evidence that supports my hypotheses that a lot of the European bedrock stones with large and deep cups could be (yet) unclassified bedrock mortars. 

You can read the article here:

Do you know what the meaning of the word Eden is in the "garden of Eden"? Is it possible that the root is the ancient PIE root from which the English word eating and the Serbian word edenje, jedenje (meaning eating) come from? 

A few days ago I came across this early christian relief from Naxos depicting the nativity (birth) of Jesus scene. Unlike the later representations of the Nativity which take place in a manger, the Nativity scene on this early marble slab is framed by two trees, which means that the scene is taking place in a forest, a grove. The two trees are the pine and the oak, the two main European Christmas trees.

This image made me ask myself these questions:

What is the origin of Christmas trees? We can read that the Christmas tree customs are the Christianized versions of the older pagan Winter Solstice customs involving evergreen trees. But why are the two main European Chrismtas trees Oak and Pine (Spruce, Fir)? Are these two trees somehow connected to the ancient idea of the garden of Eden, the Golden age "when humans enjoyed the spontaneous bounty of the earth without labor in a state of social egalitarianism"?

Oak and Pine were the main original sources of starch food during the Upper Paleolithic, Mesolithic and early Neolithic, before the adoption of grains as the main source of starch food. Is this why these two trees are depicted on the Naxos relief? Is the Garden of Eden, the Golden Age the post glacial Mesolithic northern hemisphere where food literally grew on trees?

You can read more about this here:

Acorns in ancient texts

“...when not all the orbs were yet in the heavens, before the Danai and Deukalion races came into existence, and only the Arcadians lived, of whom it is said that they dwelt on mountains and fed on acorns, before there was a moon.”

Apollonius of Rhodes (3rd century BC), Argonautica

In my post entitled "Acorns in archaeology" I presented archaeological evidence we have for human consumption of acorns during the Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, Copper age, Bronze age and Iron age. 

In this post I will present all the references to the human consumption of acorns found in ancient (pre medieval) texts that I have managed to collect so far. I would be more than grateful to anyone who can send me any reference that I have missed so that I can update my post.

You can read more here

In his book about Arcadia, a region in the central Peloponnese, Pausanias, the Greek traveler and geographer of the second-century AD, says that this was the place where Pelasgians, the followers of Pelasgus, started human civilisation.

Pausanius tells us that it was Pelasgus who "invented huts that humans should not shiver, or be soaked by rain, or oppressed by heat. He also invented coats of sheep-skins, such as poor folk still wear in Euboea and Phocis." 

Pausanius also says that it was Pelasgus who "introduced as food the nuts of trees, not those of all trees but only the acorns of the edible oak."

This article asks the question: it possible that the name Pelasgians (originally Peslasgoi, also spelled Pelastoi) meant Acron eaters? Linguistic and Ethnographic evidence related to human consumption of acorns from the Balkans (Serbia, Macedonia) and Middle East certainly suggest so. 

You can read more here:

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