Image of the Day: Stale Cereal

Archaeologists find ring-shaped objects made from grains at a site in Austria thought to date back to 960 BCE.

Jun 10, 2019
Chia-Yi Hou
Charred cereal ring fragments (black) and clay ring fragments
ÖAW-OREA / B. BIEDERER

In a study published Wednesday (June 5) in PLOS One, archaeologists report finding charred, ring-shaped, bread-like objects at the site of Stillfried an der March in Austria, which also contains ceramics that have been dated back to the Late Bronze Age or 960–800 BCE. The researchers identified that the objects were made from hulled barley and a wheat species, and may have been shaped from wet cereal mixtures and dried without baking. In the same pit, the archaeologists also found fragments of larger clay rings, which may have been used in a ritual with the cereal rings.

A.G. Heiss et al., “The Hoard of the Rings. ‘Odd’ annular bread-like objects as a case study for cereal-product diversity at the Late Bronze Age hillfort site of Stillfried (Lower Austria),” PLOS One, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0216907, 2019.