Galilee dig reveals hummus was staple of prehistoric diet

An excavation site in the Galilee reveals the agricultural revolution throughout the region some 10,000 years ago. Credit: Israel Antiquities Authority.

(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to The Middle East has gone through monumental changes over thousands of years, but one thing has never changed: an affinity for hummus.

This conclusion was reached after fava seeds were discovered during an excavation by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) in the Galilee, showing that prehistoric man living in the southern Near East some 10,000 years ago preferred a diet consisting of legumes. The joint IAA-Weizmann Institute research project, which examined fava seeds unearthed in recent years at archaeological sites from the Neolithic period in the Galilee, sheds light on the eating habits of the prehistoric man living in the area.

According to archaeologists, advanced technological methods were used to determine the exact age of the fava beans, which led to the conclusion that they had found the world’s oldest domesticated fava seeds. The seeds, researchers say, teach us that the diet of the indigenous people at the time was comprised primarily of fava beans, chickpeas used to make hummus, lentils, and other types of peas.

According to the IAA, “The multitude of fava seeds found at the Neolithic sites excavated in the Galilee during the past few years indicates the preference placed on growing fava beans. The dating of the seeds, which was done at the Kimmel Center for Archaeological Science in the Weizmann Institute, indicated a range of dates between 9,890 and 10,160 YBP (years before present). These well-preserved seeds were found in excavations, inside storage pits [granaries] after they had been husked.”

Posted on November 24, 2015 .