Sunday, 17 October 2010

Who Ate All the Pigs in Medieval Denmark?

It’s fair to assume that Valdemar the Conqueror, while ruling over Denmark in the early 1200s, ate like a king. But, what was the diet like for the peasants below him? The answer depends on where in Denmark the peasants called home.

Radford University anthropology professor Cassady Yoder researched the diets of peasants of medieval Denmark and found a significant difference in the foods consumed by those living in rural areas as opposed to city-dwelling peasants. Yoder’s research was published in the September issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science.

As part of her research, Yoder examined the diet of Dane peasants in Ribe, Denmark’s largest city during medieval times, the mid-sized city of Viborg and the population buried at a rural Cistercian monastery. Yoder found significant regional variation among the different sites. She says the city dwellers in Ribe and Viborg ate more protein rich foods such as meat from cows, pigs and fish.

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