Frogs

Monday, 4th June, 2007

  froggie2.gifA leap back in time shows Czechs ate frogs’ legs first          froggie2.gif

froggie2.gifFrogs’ legs, a delicacy most closely associated with the French, is in fact, a Czech dish, according to archaeologists. Although the edible amphibians are closely associated with Gallic cuisine – so much so that English people refer to the French by the derogatory nickname “the frogs” – ancient Czechs were eating them more than 5,000 years ago.

New research by archaeologists has uncovered the kitchen remains of hundreds of frogs’ legs in a hill fort east of Prague. Most of the 900 bones found in a pit are hind legs (the part which has the most meat and which is traditionally eaten), and came from males. This suggests they were deliberately caught in the spring during their mating season.

Update: Reference to details of the scientific paper on Archaeozoology blog.

Frog was only part of the ‘stew’ ingredients poured onto the fire from the centre of the prehistoric Barclodiad y Gawres tomb, Anglesey.

….wrasse, eel, whiting, frog, toad, natterjack, grass snake, mouse, shrew and hare. [Frances Lynch, Prehistoric Anglesey, 1991: 73]

No sign of eye of newt, only toe of frog!

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St Martin’s in the news again today:

Bridging London’s lost centuries

Two very different finds, dug up close to each other by Trafalgar Square, shine new light on the greatest puzzle of London archaeology – the “silent” centuries after Roman rule.

That the skeleton of “London’s Last Roman” – or anything ancient and unknown – can be discovered in 2006 in Trafalgar Square is remarkable.

But when it comes to yielding secrets, the square’s church, St Martin-in-the-Fields, has a long record.

“I’d love it to be proved that this was a Christian site dating back to 410.”

So would I!

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Finished: Labyrinth by Kate Mosse

In Labyrinth, Alice Tanner is a young British woman working on an archeological dig in the south of France when she discovers a new cave which has been hiding secrets for centuries. The story then jumps back 800 years when another young woman, Alais, has to protect an ancient book that contains the secrets of the Holy Grail. Their stories are told in alternating chapters as both of them struggle to hide and protect their secrets. As historical clues unfold over the centuries, both find themselves enmeshed in the history and evil that surrounds them. Kate Mosse’s novel has received mostly positive reviews with The Observer saying, “As one might expect of a labyrinth, it turns out that there are truths beyond the truths sought. There are twists and reversals, memories to be retrieved and reclaimed, lovers’ misunderstandings to be reconciled, fragments of the past to be salvaged, and old betrayals to be, very satisfyingly, revenged.”

 Reviews

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‘Black book of Carmarthen’ on exhibition

IT LOOKS very old inside its protective security case and can only be handled by people wearing silk gloves.It’s also valued at £10,000 but the Black Book of Carmarthen on display in the National Library of Wales is an electronically produced copy, bound by conservators at the Library who dyed the leather to look exactly like the original.“We were asked to bring the original down here but for obvious reasons the library declined,” said NLW senior education officer Rhodri Morgan. “There were issues of security and insurance and we just couldn’t risk it. The original is priceless, but this is the next best thing.”No one knows for sure where the small book of 108 pages was originally written. Nothing is known about it before the 17th century when it was owned by the antiquarian Robert Vaughan of Hengwrt near Dolgellau, who collected some of the most important books written in Welsh.The poems were old when they were written down. Experts believe they date from three or four centuries before the Black Book was compiled, and contain the earliest references to King Arthur, Merlin and some of Arthur’s knights. There is also the earliest version of the legend of Cantre’r Gwaelod, the fabled land lost beneath the Irish Sea.The Black book of CarmarthenDigital Mirror

An online reflection of Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru/The National Library of Wales’collections. From Wales’ earliest printed book to Illingworth’s cartoons.

Also The Book of Kells in the News from the Medieval Scriptorium

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