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Agriculture, diet and nutrition in Greco-Roman Egypt. Reassessing ancient sustenance, food processing and (mal)nutrition. (AGROS)

The AGROS project challenges the main assumptions underlying the current historical and archaeological
paradigms of ancient diet and nutrition. It has long been held that one-sided and low-quality diets, largely
comprised of foodstuffs with high levels of anti-nutrients and poor in micronutrients, resulted in chronic
malnutrition. Recently, these views have been challenged on the grounds of being anachronistic since the
modern nutritional data on which they are based are from ingredients, foodstuffs and preparation and
processing practices modified by the 20th century Green Revolution and its aftermath. The AGROS project will
remedy these knowledge gaps by producing the first empirical data on various nutritional parameters by
studying a unique collection of archaeological plant and animal remains from Greco-Roman Egypt. It will also
reconstruct ancient food processing and preparation techniques and recreate ancient foodstuffs. By measuring
the (anti)nutritional changes at each step of the production processes of these foodstuffs, it will elucidate the
relative changes that occur during historical food processing. The project brings together experts from the
diverse fields of ancient history, archaeobotany, archaeozoology, papyrology, Egyptian archaeology, food
biochemistry and microbiology, and stable isotope chemistry. Overall the fundamental research within this
study has the potential to revolutionize how ancient diet and nutrition are approached.

Date:1 Jan 2022 →  Today
Keywords:Archaeobotany, Archaeozoology, Food history, Historical food processing, preparation and its biochemistry and microbiology, Archaeology and History of Greco-Roman Egypt, Greek papyrology
Disciplines:Food sciences and (bio)technology not elsewhere classified, Ancient history