Evidence suggests early Britons ate roasted toads


In this photo provided by The University of Buckingham and taken Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013, artifacts gathered from an archaeological site known as Blick Mead are cleaned and sorted in Amesbury, about 85 miles (135 kilometers) west of London, England. Archaeologists said Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013 that an excavation about a mile (1.6 kilometers) from Stonehenge has unearthed a host of clues about the diet of prehistoric Britons. Among them: A tiny, partially burnt toad bone which suggests they snacked on amphibians thousands of years before the practice became associated with the French. (AP Photo/Justine Kibler) | Zoom

LONDON (AP) - Britons sometimes make fun of the French for feasting on frog. But now a new discovery suggests their prehistoric ancestors may have had a taste for toad.

The University of Buckingham said Wednesday that a promising excavation near Stonehenge has unearthed a host of clues about the diet of prehistoric Britons. Among them: A tiny, partially burnt leg bone which suggests the hunter-gatherers living in what's now known as the United Kingdom snacked on amphibians.

The charred bone was found alongside the remains of fish and aurochs _ the wild ancestor of today's cattle _ at a site called Blick Mead in the town of Amesbury, about 85 miles (135 kilometers) west of London.

Natural History Museum and University College, London, researcher Simon Parfitt said that the dig had provided experts a glimpse of a Mesolithic menu that also included fish, hazelnuts, berries, deer, and boar. He called the discovery of what appeared to be leftovers from a meal of roast toad "really intriguing."

"Being English, we don't eat frogs," he noted.

The toad finding has yet to be peer-reviewed, and one expert _ Bournemouth University archaeologist Tim Darvill _ expressed skepticism over what he called "the frog story."

Still, he and other outside experts voiced excitement about the dig where the bone was found, with Darvill calling it "the most significant find in the Stonehenge landscape for many years."

Andy Rhind-Tutt, a former mayor of Amesbury and the chairman of the Amesbury Museum and Heritage Trust, said the dig was turning up thousands of flint tools and animal bones, pointing to what he said may turn out to be a major prehistoric settlement just over a mile (about 2 kilometers) from the world-famous circle of standing stones.

Parfitt said the find suggests "that there's more to the site than just Stonehenge.

"There's a much deeper history to the specialness of that place," he said.


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Top Stories

  • Bad Idea
    The man behind a staged child abduction apologizes for scaring young kids, parents

  • Oso Clean
    An army of volunteers is making sure mudslide searchers get to put on warm, dry clothes

  • Vacation Time
    Two airlines are battling for your business and you're the winner
ATTENTION COMMENTERS: We've changed our comments, but want to keep you in the conversation.
Please login below with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing MyNorthwest account holders will need to create a new Disqus account or use one of the social logins provided below. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus
Sign up for breaking news e-mail alerts from MyNorthwest.com
In the community
Do you know a student who stands out in the classroom, school and community?
Help make their dreams come true by nominating them for a $1,000 scholarship and a chance to earn a $10,000 Grand Prize. Brought to you by KIRO Radio and Comprehensive Wealth Management.

Do you know an exceptional citizen who has impacted and inspired others?
KIRO Radio and WSECU would like to recognize six oustanding citizens this year. Nominate them to be recognized and to receive a $2,000 charitable grant.