Ancient utensils bear traces of 2000-year-old Vietnamese curry

Ancient utensils bear traces of 2000-year-old Vietnamese curry

Spices had been traded between south Asia and South-East Asia greater than 3000 years in the past

Peter Schickert/Westend61/Gett​y Photographs

Individuals could have been cooking curries in South-East Asia for no less than 2000 years, in line with traces of spices discovered on freshly unearthed stone instruments in Vietnam.

Throughout their digs on the Oc Eo archaeological website in southern Vietnam, Hsiao-chun Hung on the Australian Nationwide College in Canberra and her colleagues uncovered a number of sandstone grinding instruments alongside remnants of spices.

An evaluation of 717 grains of starch recovered from the instruments revealed eight kinds of spices: turmeric, ginger, galangal, sand ginger, fingerroot, clove, nutmeg and cinnamon. Lots of the grains additionally confirmed indicators of deformation, which means that they had been broken from grinding and look much like the starch granules present in fashionable curry powder.

“This discovering strongly means that the traditional inhabitants of Oc Eo utilised turmeric, ginger and different spices like cinnamon, clove and nutmeg as important substances of their culinary practices, extremely doubtless within the preparation of curry,” says Hung.

A sandstone grinding slab discovered at Oc Eo in Vietnam, on which traces of spices had been recognized

Khanh Trung Kien Nguyen

Maritime buying and selling routes between South-East Asia and south Asia had been established greater than 3000 years in the past, with spices reminiscent of nutmeg and clove coming from Indonesia and others reminiscent of turmeric and cinnamon from south Asia.

Stone grinding instruments first appeared in South-East Asia 2000 to 3000 years in the past, together with different cultural components originating in south Asia, reminiscent of Indian ornaments and non secular monuments. Subsequently, it’s extremely possible that these instruments, spices and recipes had been launched to the area by migrants or travellers from south Asia, says Hung. The spices discovered at Oc Eo in all probability got here from merchants, however may have been grown regionally from seeds introduced by merchants, say the researchers.

The findings present invaluable details about the dietary habits of South-East Asian societies on the time and in addition provide a glimpse into the cultural and buying and selling connections between completely different areas over hundreds of years, says Hung.


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