Meat: From Prehistory into the More Recent, but Still, Distant Past

Eben van Tonder
2 May 2018

Food has been central to human existence by its very definition from day one.  Human beings have been around at the Southern tip of Africa from much earlier than 70 000 years ago and during all these epochs, they ate.  What they ate and how they prepared their food is a fascinating question.

There are resources dedicated to a study of the culinary practices of that period.  Here we ask what their chemical technology was and how they started incorporating this into food preservation techniques which ultimately culminated in the invention of the art of curing.

Much of what we do here are educated guesses, but I base my speculations on a certain, solid, factual basis.  It is an insanely exciting project.  We continue to tell great stories from the world of Food Science, but we take the scope of our inquiry back to an unimaginable time and the results are startling!  In the process we review the fundamental chemistry behind salting, pickling, curing and fermentation and in the process, we gain a better understanding of what we do in our modern food factories today.

Artefacts from the Bombos Cave in Southern Africa include two pieces of engraved ochre, 73,000 years old.


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