hist-brewing: Ancient Celtic Metheglin Recipe posted on MLD

hdavis at ix.netcom.com hdavis at ix.netcom.com
Tue Apr 7 21:55:38 PDT 1998

On 04/07/98 11:43:33 you wrote:
>This may be a silly question, but I'm wondering.
>The following was posted to the Mead Lover's Digest. Does anyone know if
>the pollen found in such a sample truly represents herbs added, or was
>it just pollen the bees left in the honey? Short of plant material left
>in the sample, is there anyway to tell the difference between pollens
>added intentionally and pollens left behind by bees?
>Crystal A. Isaac
>___Original post follows______
>Subject: Ancient Celtic Metheglin Recipe
>From: Dan McFeeley <mcfeeley at keynet.net>
>Date: Thu, 2 Apr 1998 11:43:35 -0600
>I ran across this note on the excavation of the Hochdorf tomb, a Celtic
>site just a few miles from Stuttgart Germany, dated approx. 540 - 520
>BC. Along with the artifacts that were recovered, there was a bronze 125
>gallon cauldron that had held mead, according to the analysis of the
>brownish sediment at the bottom.  The source was _The Celts: Conquerors
>of Ancient Europe_, NY: Harry N. Abrams, 1993, p. 38.
>Pollen analysis showed that honey had been used along with "local plants
>such as thyme, mountain jasmine, plantain, knapweed, and meadowsweet." 
>A complete site report might give the complete listing of spices for
>this metheglin, but of course the exact amounts are unknown.
>Anyone want to try and recreate this Celtic version of metheglin?

I'm not convinced that the pollen is indicative of the herbs being used. 
Rather, I suggest that the pollen fairly represents the flowers visited by 
the bees. So, the find may have been mead OR metheglin. Did the survey 
include an analysis of the consituents of the residue beyond pollen content?


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