A chemical analysis of a pot dating to the Early Bronze Age shows that the people of Italy began to use olive oil 700 years earlier than the earlier recorded date.
Olive oil is one of the main ingredients of Italian cuisine. This has been going on for thousands of years. In the past days, chemical analysis on an ancient pottery vessel proved that the presence of olive oil, also called liquid gold, in Italy was based hundreds of years before anthropologists had already registered.
A research team led by Assistant Professor Doctor Davide Tanasi of the History Department of the University of South Florida conducted a series of chemical analyzes to determine the size of a large container discovered during 90 excavations at Castelluccio by Guiseppe Voza. The conservators of the Siracusa Archeology Museum restored and reassembled 400 pieces of ceramic to obtain a storage container with approximately 45 cm egg-shaped strips and three vertical edgings all around it.
The researchers found two more shredded large vessels with internal compartments as well as a large sheet of terracotta from the same archaeological site in Castelluccio, Sicily, indicating that the vessels were used to store multiple substances together but separately
DR. Tanasi said, "The shape of this storage cabinet and the cabin compartment near it did not match what Voza found in Castelluccio. There was a stamp belonging to the Sicilian dish bowls dated to the end of the 3rd millennium BC and the beginning of the 2nd millennium (Early Bronze Age). We wanted to know how to use the cabinet, so we did a chemical analysis on the organic deposits in it. "
In a study published in Analythical Methods Tanasi studied three such artifacts using traditional and highly successful techniques (Gas Chromatography, Mass Spectrometry, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) in archaeological pottery. In each of the three samples, the team found organic deposits containing oleic and linoleic acid indicating the presence of olive oil. Due to their location and their original shapes, they were the result of belonging to Early Bronze Age Sicily.
"The results from the three discoveries in Castellucio are the first chemical evidence of the oldest olive oil in pre-historic Italy, which dates systematic olive oil production at least 700 years earlier."
The only known chemical manifestation of olive oil was found in storage containers, which were discovered in Cosenza and Lecce in southern Italy and thought to belong to the 12th and 11th centuries BC (Bronze Age).
Science Daily. May 30, 2018.
Article : Tanasi, D., Greco, E., Noor, RE, Feola, S., Kumar, V., Crispino, A., & Gelis, I. ). 1H NMR, 1H-1H 2D TOCSY and GC-MS analyzes for the identification of olive oil on Early Bronze Age pottery from Castelluccio (Noto, Italy). Analytical Methods.