Raw Fish and Tapeworms: Ancient Latrines Reveal the Diets of Our Ancestors

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tags: archaeology, DNA, Denmark

It's Denmark, 1020 AD and you’re putting your feet up after a long day of pillaging with your Viking friends. What’s on the table for dinner, you ask? Beer, buckwheat and undercooked fish—all sprinkled with a heady seasoning of parasites.

Scientists have performed DNA analysis on ancient stool samples from Northern Europe and the Middle East to get a glimpse of what our ancestors were eating. Research about the diets of people from Denmark, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Jordan and Bahrain was published Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE.

Researchers examined archaeological stool samples from medieval Europe and later, as well as much earlier samples from the Middle East. The earliest sample was produced in Bahrain sometime from 500-400 BC. Although it’s uncertain exactly which sample is—shall we say—freshest, one stool from the Netherlands could date as late as 1850 AD.

Read entire article at Newsweek