|Kneading dough for a beer starter: 2100-2000 C. BCE|
According to The Food Timeline:
Egyptian depictions of food processing are very intriguing, and I found this statuette in the Israel Museum extremely interesting. Also of interest:
"No one has yet managed to date the origins of beer with any precision, and it is probably an impossible task. Indeed, there are scholars who have theorized that a taste for ale prompted the beginning of agriculture, in which case humans have been brewing for some 10,000 years...Most archaeological evidence, however, suggests that fermentation was being used in one manner or another by around 4000 to 3500 B.C. Some of this evidence--from an ancient Mesopotamian trading outpost called Godin Tepe in present-day Iran--indicates that barley was being fermented at that location around 3500 B.C....We know that not much later the Sumerians were...making beer...At approximately the same time, people of the ancient Nubian culture to the south of Egypt were also fermenting a crude, ale-like beverage known as bousa."--Cambridge World History of Food, Kenneth F. Kiple & Conee R. Ornelas [Cambridge University Press:Cambridge] 2000, Volume One (p. 620)
|Closeup of kneading trough. Both beer and bread were made in similar ways.|
|A man bearing provisions for an offering. Egypt 2600-2500 BCE. |
This limestone relief from a tomb bears an inscription with a magic formula.
It looks as if he has grain and small birds and animals for the offering.
|Another bearer of offerings, with flour and a duck.|
Painted wooden figurine, Egypt 2100-2000 BCE.
In Ancient Israel
|My favorite ancient figurine: a woman holding a butter churn on her head.|
Chacolithic era from the sanctuary of Gilat in the Negev in Israel.
Dated 5500 to 6500 years ago.
|How milk was churned in these vessels: they were hung up and shaken|
back-and-forth, as shown. The figurine above, and others in the sanctuary,
also used churns for an unknown symbolic meaning in grave goods.
"The population of the Land [Israel] grew dramatically in this period, largely thanks to increased food production. People lived in planned villages built near water sources, dwelling in houses, caves, and subterranean rooms. Everyday objects exhibited little variety, especially in comparison to the richly decorated ritual items produced with sophisticated techniques.
"The climate of the Negev was considerably wetter then, making floodwater farming possible, and systems of channels and dams were constructed to ensure optimal utilization of rainfall for irrigation. Agriculture and animal husbandry formed the basis of the economy. For the first time, animals were exploited not only for their meat and hides, but also for their milk and wool."