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Author Topic: 5,000 year-old piece of chewing gum  (Read 3632 times)

Offline steelgraham

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5,000 year-old piece of chewing gum
« on: 25/08/2007 12:50:45 »
Earlier this week, I stumbled upon a number of reports about some fascinating finds at an archaeological dig at the Kierikki Centre in Finland:-

newbielink:http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6954562.stm [nonactive]

This is of particular interest to myself and many others who have a general interest in the properties of beech and birch tree/bark.

See:- *************************************
newbielink:http://jdr.iadrjournals.org/cgi/reprint/79/6/1352.pdf [nonactive]

To learn that ~ 5000 years ago, "Neolithic people used the material as an antiseptic to treat gum infections" is truly incredible.

Graham

[size=07pt](Sorry I removed that link as we cannot advertise or offer for sale products on the site!)[/size]
« Last Edit: 26/08/2007 10:02:06 by steelgraham »


 

Offline steelgraham

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5,000 year-old piece of chewing gum
« Reply #1 on: 26/08/2007 10:00:44 »
Sorry NS. It was certainly not my intention to *product placement*.

Maybe a better url would have been:- newbielink:http://jada.ada.org/cgi/reprint/137/2/190 [nonactive]

Best,

Graham
 

Offline JimBob

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5,000 year-old piece of chewing gum
« Reply #2 on: 29/08/2007 01:30:38 »
It is good info anyway! I am a follower of archeology (I'd like to see an archeology section.)
 

Offline steelgraham

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5,000 year-old piece of chewing gum
« Reply #3 on: 31/08/2007 12:45:16 »
Thanks JimBob.

I heard back from the Kierikki Centre directly. You may be interested in what they had to say:-

"Hi,

I'm very sorry it took my so long to replay to you. Because of the school
groups this is the busiest time of the year for Kierikki Centre. I work
here both as a guide and one of the archaelogist, in this and last summer
I and Sami Viljanmaa were field leaders while excavating Kierikkikangas
site.

I admit I don't know that much about effects of birch park tar when dealing
with infections. What I do know about is its practical use as a glue; for
connecting arrowheads with shaft and for fixing clay pots. The way to get
it is to distil the tar from birch park. Pretty soon the tar becomes hard,
and one way to make it soft again is to chew it, another one is to heat
it. From this process there are in some cases remains of teeth marks, which
is excating on it's own right; we don't have that many "straight contacts"
to Stone Age inhabitants of Finland since our acid ground destroys pretty
soon all the organical materials.

It is hard to say if those people did know about antiseptic use of birch
park tar; there are pieces both with and without the chewing marks. The
taste of it isn't that good, so there propably was a good reason to chew
it, whatever the reason was. The earliest pieces are from Mesolithic more
than 8000 BC and they become more common during typical combware (dates
roughly 4200 - 3500 BC). Later on during the Early Metal Age there seems
to be none, which at least indicates that there wasn't anymore need for
birch tar to be used as glue.

There's some information at web pages of Helsinki University, also some
articles, most of course in finnish. Some pictures of tar pieces are there,
too.

newbielink:http://www.helsinki.fi/hum/arla/esineisto_kivikausi/ruokatalous/purupihkat/teksti_purupihkat.htm [nonactive]

I hope this gave you at least some useful information; I'm happy to help
you to get in contact with people mentioned within articles. The most recent
ones are by Petro Pesonen, who right now works for NBA (national bound of
archives). I can pretty easily get his contact details for you, example.


With best regards,

Sini Annala"


 
 

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5,000 year-old piece of chewing gum
« Reply #3 on: 31/08/2007 12:45:16 »

 

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