Frogs' legs on the menu in Amesbury years before the French were eating them (From Salisbury Journal)
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Frogs' legs on the menu in Amesbury years before the French were eating them
PEOPLE in Amesbury were munching on frogs’ legs thousands of years before the French even tried the delicacy according to archaeologists digging in the town.
Soil samples from the site at Blick Mead near Amesbury Abbey have been analysed by scientists at the Natural History Museum who discovered people living in the area at the time were dining on cooked frogs’ legs along with nuts, wild boar, juniper berries and fish.
“The earliest records of people eating frogs’ legs in France are 1600 BC but people were eating them in Amesbury thousands of years before that,” said archaeologist David Jacques, who is leading the dig.
“It begs the question – who should be called the frogs?
“It would appear that thousands of years ago people were eating a Heston Blumenthal-style menu on this site, one and a quarter miles from Stonehenge, consisting of frogs’ legs, aurochs and red deer with hazelnuts followed by another course of salmon and trout, although we are yet to find anything for pudding except maybe some berries.”
The team has also uncovered the remains of a yellow nest mouse - which they say looked similar to the mouse in the classic children's book The Gruffalo - to a tool called a tranchet adze, 650 animal bones and more than 1,000 flints dating back to the Mesolithic period between 7500 and 4000 BC.
They also found a bone from a large animal called an auroch with the joint still intact.
Other finds are now being analysed to see if they date back even further – possibly before the Ice Age – which would make Amesbury one of the oldest settlements in Europe.
The latest dig has been funded by the University of Buckingham and runs for two weeks.
It has been filmed by the BBC for a programme being broadcast next summer and several local volunteers have been helping on the site. "This project has really excited people in Amesbury and the town deserves to benefit from our finds," added Mr Jacques.
"It is incredibly rare to make this number of discoveries in such a short space of time and there is a real sense of excitement and anticipation on the site."
Many of the artefacts and information about the dig will be on display at Amesbury Museum in Melor Hall.
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