Stone Age BBQ and the First Butchers

In BBQ - Grilling - Smoking, Cooking Guide, Recipes by Lois MannoLeave a Comment

The remains of an ancient barbecue indicate that ribs have been popular for a very long time. 7,700-year-old leftovers from an extinct wild ox known as an aurochs were found in the Netherlands and are direct evidence of a cookout that would have been the envy of any modern-day block party.

The aurochs must have generated a huge amount of meat, as these beasts were far larger than today’s domestic cattle. A flint blade and bones tells the story of the female ox being butchered in the field, with cuts of meat taken back to the camp nearby. The ribs were cooked and eaten on the spot, with the rich, nutritious bone marrow being consumed first. Sadly, we can’t enjoy barbecued aurochs today, because the last living specimen died in a Polish zoo in 1627. You can read the entire article here.

Courtesy Dikika Research Project, California Academy of Sciences

Going even further back, an article in Archaeology Magazine reports that some ancient bones from Ethiopia bear the marks of what may have been early butchering activity. Since these bones date back 3.3 million years, they are by far the oldest evidence of stone tool use.

Curtis Marean of Arizona State University examined the bones and felt confident that the marks were from stone tools, though some other experts were skeptical. Since I can think of no better use for a stone tool than cutting up a big yummy animal for a barbecue feast, I’m going to stick with Curtis. Read the entire article here.

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Lois Manno

Lois is the Editorial Director of the Burn! Blog and the Fiery Foods & BBQ SuperSite.

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