Ancient Einkorn Discovered in Britain

einkorn discovery

Einkorn has done it again. This delicious and useful ancient grain has now improved our view of history. Recently, Einkorn was discovered underwater off the Isle of Wight. Thousands of years ago, the area of this Mesolithic site was above water. Now it is completely covered by the ocean. Archaeologists from the Maritime Archaeology Trust discovered remains of einkorn there.

The samples were tested and found to be from between 6010 BC and 5960 BC. This is significant because it contradicts what we thought we knew about Britain at this time period. The Neolithic period is the name given to the era at the tail end of the stone age. During this period, agriculture was beginning to advance. In Britain, there has been virtually no evidence of the Neolithic age having an influence until approximately 4100B.C. Until that time it has been generally believed that the population in what is now Great Britain lived a hunter gatherer lifestyle with very little correspondence with the rest of Europe.

ancient einkorn

The discovery of this einkorn deposit begs some questions. At that time, the closest place to be know growing Einkorn was southern Italy. So, the big question is, how did the Einkorn get there? If it was grown there, this region was much more agriculturally advanced than was previously thought. If it was brought there, then Britain had much more connection with the outside world than we knew. This is the conclusion that has been generally reached. Britain was trading wheat with societies more agriculturally advanced 2,000 years before agriculture was introduced there. Either way, history is being rewritten thanks to this little grain we know and love.

University of Bradford professor, Vince Gaffney said, “Scientists’ ability to analyse genetic material found deep in ancient buried marine sediments will open up a totally new chapter in the study of British and European prehistory. It is a unique method for exploring and understanding what was taking place in the huge swathes of prehistoric territory lost during sea level rise after the end of the last Ice age.” It will be interesting to see what conclusions are reached due to this and future discoveries. In the meantime, we get to enjoy the powerful little grain and the health benefits it brings.


Photo Credits:

Brookes, Roland. Photograph. Associated Newspapers Ltd, 26 Feb 2015. Web. 9 March. 2015.

Brookes, Roland. Photograph. 26 Feb 2015. Web. 9 March. 2015.

3 thoughts on “Ancient Einkorn Discovered in Britain

  1. Colin Hills

    Is this grain the same as Spelt or Dinkel as known in Germany?

    Look forward to an explanation.


    1. admin

      Colin, no einkorn is not the same as spelt. Spelt is an ancient grain that replaced einkorn thousand of years ago because spelt is higher yielding but unfortunately not as genetically primitive.

      1. Tika Bonifacio

        And what about Kamut? Is it also one that replaced Einkorn for it’s higher yield? Is Kamut more ancient than Spelt?


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