In a day and age where humans have traveled everywhere from the moon to the depths of the ocean, it’s easy to forget that there are still an innumerable amount of discoveries modern scientists have yet to make. But one more can be checked off, now that scientists in Switzerland have uncovered a batch of extremely old cereal from the Bronze Age. Preserved for an estimated 4,000 years in a small wooden box, this discovery really brings new meaning to “ancient grains.” And as it turns out, this old cereal will help scientists understand a great deal about this time period.
Researchers with the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History found the millennia-old cereal in a Bronze Age wooden lunchbox that was discovered in the Lötschberg mountain pass in the Swiss Mountains in 2012.
But it was just recently that scientists came across the cereal. Really, what the researchers came across in the small wooden box were traces of wheat. Microscopic specks of ancient cereal matter might not sound like much, but those who worked on the discovery say the grains provide important information. Armed with the knowledge that cereal was once stored in the lunchbox, scientists have more insight into the eating habits of people who lived during this time period.
Newcastle University archaeologist Dr Francesco Carrer participated in the research of the lunchbox, and tells the Telegraph that “Our research will allow us to understand what type of food [prehistoric people] used” during their journeys. The grains will also help scientists put together how and when wheat was grown and used in Europe. Not too shabby for tiny traces of snack food.