northern european diet

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created March 12, 2013 at 10:26 PM

being a dark blonde and blue eyed individual, i was wondering what foods the northern european peoples ate pre agricultural revolution ?

ive heard it was a consisted mainly of fish, nuts, and berries, and milk ?

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on March 13, 2013
at 12:10 AM

via: http://www.cambridge.org/us/books/kiple/northerneurope.htm

The Paleolithic Period

The northern European environment underwent drastic change several times during the Pleistocene. Glaciers coming from Scandinavia and the Alps covered a large part of the landscape with glacigenic sediment several times during the Ice Age. Forests retreated from northern Europe and were replaced by a type of vegetation that can be regarded as a mixture of those of tundra and steppe. In this environment, forest-adapted herbivores were replaced by large grazing species such as caribou (Rangifer tarandus), wild horse (Equus sp.), and mammoth (Mammonteus primigenius). These species, associated in small or bigger herds, migrated from the north to the south and vice versa in a yearly cycle. In summer they fled north from the multitude of biting insects (to Jutland, for example), and in winter they were attracted by the somewhat higher temperatures in areas of the south, such as that just north of the Alps.

Reindeer herds proved to be a very good source of food for Paleolithic reindeer hunters, whose widespread presence in northern Europe is well established by excavations. The hunters migrated with the herds from the south to the north and back again. Prehistoric humans located their temporary dwelling places so as to achieve a maximum vantage point ??? usually so they could hunt downhill using their lances and bows or a kind of harpoon made of stone and bone material (Bandi 1968: 107???12; Kuhn-Schnyder 1968: 43???68; Rust 1972: 19???20, 65???9).

Although the archaeological evidence for hunting is very clear, hunters doubtless also gathered wild plants. The latter, however, is very difficult to demonstrate, as it is rarely possible to find plant material, such as fruits and seeds, preserved in the layers of Paleolithic camp excavations.

During the late glacial period, trees from the south colonized northern Europe so thoroughly that the landscape was nearly totally forested. Unfortunately, we know little about human nutrition following the return of forested conditions to northern Europe. Reindeer and other steppe-tundra fauna became locally extinct in the newly forested regions.



on March 13, 2013
at 12:06 AM

Tubers? I would think there was access to other animal sources than just fish and dairy.

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