Britain – A recent archaeological research suggests the presence of wheat in Britain around 8,000 years ago. Scientists have discovered parts of wheat DNA from an ancient peat bog. They estimate that the grain was traded or exchanged even in times prior to the historical period when British farmers started to grow the crop. The recent study shows that Britain had a strong sophisticated network that established cultural links with Europe. The findings of the evidence of wheat cultivation in Britain in ancient times have been published in the journal Science.
According to scientists, agriculture was first developed in the Near East, from where the activity spread along two European main routes. They estimate that wheat was first cultivated in the British mainland around 6,000 years ago. Studies suggest that ancient hunter-gatherers collected crops like wheat and barley and began their cultivation in Britain at the time. Scientists discovered the evidence of the wheat cultivation in a submerged cliff near the Isle of Wight.
Archaeological survey found einkorn or the DNA of wheat, from sediment that is believed to belong to the peat of to a river in ancient times. The findings give way to theories that traders arrived in Britain with the wheat crop where they met the less advanced hunter-gatherer society. To supplement the diet, the wheat is estimated to have been made into flour. Nevertheless, scientists failed to find any pollen or other clues that lead to the understanding that the farming of wheat began at a much later stage in Britain.
The research was led by the University if Warwick’s Dr. Robin Allaby. He explained the cultural co-existence between Europe and Britain. He suggested that while 8000 years ago there was primarily a hunter-gatherer society in Britain, in Europe agriculture and farming was starting to develop. He commented, “Common throughout neolithic Southern Europe, einkorn is not found elsewhere in Britain until 2,000 years after the samples found at Bouldnor Cliff.”