2000 year-old Bogong moth (Agrotis infusa) Aboriginal food remains, Australia

Stephenson, Birgitta, David, Bruno, Fresløv, Joanna, Arnold, Lee J., GunaiKurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation., , Delannoy, Jean-Jacques, Petchey, Fiona, Urwin, Chris, Wong, Vanessa N.L., Fullagar, Richard, Green, Helen, Mialanes, Jerome, McDowell, Matthew, Wood, Rachel, and Hellstrom, John (2020) 2000 year-old Bogong moth (Agrotis infusa) Aboriginal food remains, Australia. Scientific Reports, 10. 22151.

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View at Publisher Website: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-79307...
 
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Abstract

Insects form an important source of food for many people around the world, but little is known of the deep-time history of insect harvesting from the archaeological record. In Australia, early settler writings from the 1830s to mid-1800s reported congregations of Aboriginal groups from multiple clans and language groups taking advantage of the annual migration of Bogong moths (Agrotis infusa) in and near the Australian Alps, the continent's highest mountain range. The moths were targeted as a food item for their large numbers and high fat contents. Within 30 years of initial colonial contact, however, the Bogong moth festivals had ceased until their recent revival. No reliable archaeological evidence of Bogong moth exploitation or processing has ever been discovered, signalling a major gap in the archaeological history of Aboriginal groups. Here we report on microscopic remains of ground and cooked Bogong moths on a recently excavated grindstone from Cloggs Cave, in the southern foothills of the Australian Alps. These findings represent the first conclusive archaeological evidence of insect foods in Australia, and, as far as we know, of their remains on stone artefacts in the world. They provide insights into the antiquity of important Aboriginal dietary practices that have until now remained archaeologically invisible.

Item ID: 65380
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2045-2322
Copyright Information: Open Access. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.© The Author(s) 2020
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage (CE170100015)
Date Deposited: 20 Dec 2020 22:04
FoR Codes: 45 INDIGENOUS STUDIES > 4501 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, language and history > 450101 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander archaeology @ 30%
43 HISTORY, HERITAGE AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 4301 Archaeology > 430101 Archaeological science @ 70%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950503 Understanding Australias Past @ 100%
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