Remains at Skara Brae reveal people eating rodents during Stone Age

Archaeologists discovered 5000-year-old bones of rodents that were eaten at the Neolithic settlement in Skara Brae, Orkney, United Kingdom. The team identified remains of at least 1674 voles eaten at the site.

Bones of the rodents (by Daily Mail Online)
Bones of the voles (by Daily Mail Online)

It seems that small rodents called voles, were cooked and eaten but also used as food on long journeys by the inhabitants of the Skara Brae settlement. The team analysed 29553 skeletal fragments, including 8360 isolated teeth, identifying at least 1674 rodents. It was revealed that the majority of the remains were of voles, that are common in pastures used for grazing animals. Their remains were mixed with other human refuse, showing that they were likely to have been put there by the people who lived there. The remains were also burnt, as if they had been roasted on a fire, suggesting that they were being cooked and presumably eaten afterwards.

Skara Brae Stone Age dwelling (by Daily Main Online)
Skara Brae Stone Age dwelling (by Daily Mail Online)

Far more voles were found in Skara Brae, than in normal human habitations. This means that something must have led them there. If the experts are right, this is the earliest evidence for rodents being used as food in the European continent. So far such remains were found during excavations all around the world. Orkney voles were introduced from continental Europe during the Neolithic era. The archaeologists believe this finding supports evidence that voles were knowingly transported from the European continent, quite possibly as a food resource during long sea journeys.

(after Daily Mail Online)

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