What People Ate
What did People Eat at the Time of the Tollund Man?
The cooking was done by the fireplace in the iron-age house. People used both spits and earthenware vessels to cook the food in.
The cooking was done by the fireplace. Big picture © Lejre Experimental Centre
In the cellars underneath the iron-age houses we have found supplies of harvested grain, and we also know that the Tollund Man's last meal consisted of a some kind of gruel or porridge made of barley, rye and oat.
From other examinations we know that seeds from flax and weed seeds from shepherd's purse, common plaintain and several other species were also mixed in with the gruel people ate in the Iron Age.
At the beginning of the Iron Age people grinded flour with a rubbing stone and made bread with the flour. Later on in the Iron Age the rubbing stone was replaced by a more modern rotating mill.
Wild berries such as raspberries and bluesberries as well as apples were collected and eaten. Hazelnuts were probably a good supplement to the average diet.
If people lived by the sea, they were not afraid to row their boats far out at sea to fish, but they also collected mussels and oysters along the coast.
By the lakes people probably made use of fish weirs and fish traps which didn't need a lot of care but could still provide the people of the Iron Age with plenty of fish.
First and foremost, the livestock provided the people with milk - secondly with meat. Any meat that wasn't eaten right away was dried or smoked and saved for the winter.
Milk was either used right away or made into cheese which could be saved for later. Earthenware vessels which could be used for making cheese - straining vats - are among the things the archaeologists discover in the excavations.
A nice loaf of fresh bread and cheese. Big picture © Lejre Experimental Centre
People hunted game or caught it in traps. The preferred game was wild boar and deer but also ducks and geese were hunted and used for food.
The big birds of prey were also hunted but in their case it was their tail feathers, which could be used for arrows, that made them desired.