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Bread is the foundation of civilization
Grain & Feed Milling Technology is published six times a year by Perendale Publishers Ltd of the United Kingdom. All data is published in good faith, based on information received, and while every care is taken to prevent inaccuracies, the publishers accept no liability for any errors or omissions or for the consequences of action taken on the basis of information published. ©Copyright 2014 Perendale Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior permission of the copyright owner. Printed by Perendale Publishers Ltd. ISSN: 1466-3872
10 | March - April 2014
&FEED MILLING TECHNOLOGY
“Wheat brings new habits”
by Dr Ahmet Uhri, Archeologist, The Department of Archeology, Dokuz Eylül University, Turkey
– Charles Darwin
Dr Uhri gave a presentation on the 10th Anniversary of the Turkish Flour Industrialists Federation Congress and Exhibition in Antalya in late March 2014 on the history of wheat and its value in human nutrition.
he one who owns petrol owns the commonwealth; the one who owns food owns the nation.” This quote is claimed to have been phrased by Henry A. Kissinger in 1974, the United States Foreign Minister at the time. Confirming his saying, wheat has always played an important role in forming human history as it is the very first of our food resources. In this article, it will be mentioned how wheat had an ability to create a civilization and accordingly the archeological proofs that support this claim.
Wheat has always been essential to humanity being one of the first domesticated crops. It differs from other crops with it being satisfying in calorie and the raw material of bread. It also gets on well with humans, furthermore, it would not be wrong to say that it rules the world. Wheat is cultivated in an area of about six million square meters in the world; more than half of Europe or all Australia. For instance, imagine an area fivefold of the USA and two-fold of India. This is the area on which wheat has a big impact. Moreover, it has the biggest ecological tolerance as a plant in the world, other than human beings. What I want to say is that ecological tolerance is the ability to adapt oneself to different geographies and climates. In other words, the ‘human-wheat’ relationship has always been involved in colonization throughout history. This couple – human-and-wheat - probably started colonization 14,000 years ago. We can also say that when humans first came across wheat, it stole his heart and became the ruler of the whole world. Humans put wheat under his control, planting it in different lands and thus wheat con-
Wheat and humanity
vinced him to live together. This relationship means settlement and settlements means the beginning of a civilization. Nutrition has been one of the basic instincts for humans for about 3.5 million years. It was also a basic instinct before human began to be a human. Likewise, all living beings have the same instincts: a need for nutrition, surviving and reproducing. It was 3.5 million years ago when human started to exist as a human beings and first initiated toolmaking in order to be able to use these tools to get food. 3,485,000 years of this time was all about hunting and collecting. For about 3,485,000 years, humans only maintained their existence by means of hunting and collecting from nature not attempting to make any agricultural production at all. After that, about two million years ago, humans left Africa and spread into other parts of the world. During their journey, they invented agriculture. This was probably the most important invention after toolmaking and being able to keep fire under control. Then, humans noticed something while observing nature: It was that the same plant was born again after the seeds fell to earth. However, as I mentioned before, 3,485,000
Nutrition a basic human instinct
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The excavations in Hallan Çemi, Çayönü, Göbekli Tepe, Nevali Çori, Körtiktepe, Mezra Teleilat, Gürcütepe and Diyarbakır Çayönü give us some information including another meaning to the term ‘neolithic’. These excavations also claim that farmers first began to emerge gradually about 14,000 years ago. Mehmet Özdoğan, an expert of this field, suggests that: Southeastern Anatolia “Briefly, the Neolithic period reflects the All of these have been proven to be true by the archeologists excavating in Southeastern period of reformation in the areas such as Anatolia Region within the body of GAP nutrition, technology and lifestyle. “In the basis of these this period (Southeastern Anatolia Project). Corporate Banner (190x132mm)(outlines)_Layout 1 23/12/2013 08:54 Page reforms, 1 years had to pass for him to discover such things. In other words, everything started 14 to 15,000 years ago when humans, first having lived as a wanderer, eventually settled down and started agriculture. This new beginning is called the Neolithic Revolution by archeologists and historians.
was a kind of revolution lasting from 12,000 to 6000 BC. The beginning of this period was mainly associated with the disappearance of what Last Ice Age caused and the appearance of today’s climates. Throughout the world, people tried to adapt themselves to these changing climatic conditions with the help of technology and their social habits. “However, this revolution was a different one in some regions of the Near East when compared to the rest of the world. Thus, a new lifestyle came into being affecting the entire world.”
12 | March - April 2014
&FEED MILLING TECHNOLOGY
The epigram above by Charles Darwin makes sense now: “Wheat brings new habits.” This revolution in the regions of Near East and the appearance of a new lifestyle are again connected to wheat as its ‘hometown’ is Southeastern Anatolia Region. Due to the archeobotanic data that we have, DNA analysis results show that today’s einkorn and emmer wheats have a kind of relation with the ones in Karacadağ in Southeastern Region. Göbekli Tepe near Urfa, where the excavations have been going since 1995, contributes a lot to Near East archeology and provides some satisfactory results. This 12,000-year-old area makes us realise how people began agriculture and settlement. Kalus Schmidt, one of the excavators in Göbekli Tepe says: “At that time, Göbekli Tepe still belonged to the hunters and
Tell Mureybet in northern Syria, along with the seeds of barley, einkorn, acorn, lentil, chickpea, beans , ground stones, stoves and food storages have been found. 2 In the settlements of this culture named as Natuf Culture in literature, roasted grain samples and grain roasting places found in Tell Mureybet 3 are the proofs that people used roasting. Eroded teeth found in Natuf skeletons show that this was caused by the common usage of ground stones remained in their vegetables. On the other hand, the examination made on the Hittite skeletons shows the same results and this leads us to the fact that this kind of grinding was used for a long time and in various places. Also, there is a fact that Strontium/Calcium in their bones was the consequence of being closer to the herbivores rather than carnivores. This sug-
settlement, invented writing, started urbanisation and progressed on in time. Shortly, wheat started civilisation or the civilisation started when it met the human. It was love, but not love at first sight. They observed each other for a certain time and sometimes they got closer. However, sometimes they did not. In the end, they realised that they could not live without each other. The main issue is the prehistoric period of wheat and it is possible to provide a basis for the place of wheat in prehistoric times by giving some examples. In the myths found in the documents of Sumerians, who first used writing, some information about wheat has been provided to lead us along the way. Among these myths, Dumuzi and Enkimdu are highly interesting in content. They are also considered as the sources of Kain and Habil. This myth is about the rivalry between the lifestyles of farmers and shepherds. The myth reveals that Goddess Inanna is about to choose her husband. The candidates are Shepherd God Dumuzi and Farmer God Enkimdu. Enkimdu says that he will give gifts to Dumuzi if he withdraws. Moreover, there is also wheat among these gifts. When we are already into the prehistoric times, it will be a good idea to go further into the next periods since some other civilisations also emerge. It is seen that Storm God Tarhunt is depicted as holding a bunch of wheat and grapes as a sign of fertility on the famous Ivriz embossment remained from Late Hittites. In later periods, it is also clear in the descriptions that Demeter, Goddess of Fertility, again is holding some wheat. Furthermore, there are about 180 bread, cake, pastry and pie names in Hittite documents1, but these names are given to them according to their forms, contents, ingredients and tastes. For instance, thin bread (phyllo), thick bread (a loaf of bread), small bread, bread in the shape of a fish and the moon (croissant), bread in the shape of an ear, a bunch of grapes, a tooth, a sheep, a human, a boat and a tyre, sweet bread (pastry), bread with beer or peas, oily bread, sour bread, wet bread, wheat, rye, barley bread, etc.
gatherers. This place also represents the final period of hunters who were about to discover a lifestyle based on farming to supply nutrition and to initiate the Neolithic Period.” However, I can say that the first use of wheat resembles today’s use of wheat. In the Southeastern Region, in the excavation sites like Çayönü, Nevali Çori and Hallan Çemi, Mediterreanean coasts (Nahal Oren, Hayonim etc.) in Palestine between the years of 11,000 – 9300 BC, Jordan Plateau and the Rift Valley (Ayn Mallaha),
First use resembles today’s use
gests that the vegetative food has a leading role in Natuf people’s diet. That is to say, this was not easy for people to come to these days. It has been a long journey from the first grinding crops to today’s various and modern bakery products.
The result of the transition from gathering and hunting period to the first production has been like a revolution for human beings. They have reached a civilized level in the past 15,000 years. In other words, they have developed metallurgy, changed the way of
Wheat started our civilisation as we know it
About 14,000 years ago, the relationship between human and wheat that first started near Urfa in Southeastern Anatolia provided human with chance for settlement and enabled them to begin agriculture. Having stayed in the same region for a long time together, this couple, human and wheat, became inseparable in time. As a consequence, human never left wheat and took him wherever it went during the migration started 9000 years ago. This led to the rapid tranmission of the new lifestyles to other regions of the world. During this 9000 year-period, wheat reached Atlantic coasts leaving Southeastern Anatolia with human. In the meantime, not only the new agriculture technologies and wheat, but also the new lifestyles reached the entire
Humans took wheat with him on migrations
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world like a packet referred to as Neolithic Pack by archeologists. If we take the holy scriptures into consideration, since they are the products of humanity, the saying, “You shall eat weed; until you become earth, you shall eat bread by the sweat of your brow…”1 has come true. Human landing on Earth from heaven has lived his own heaven and hell on Earth.
References & Footnotes
1 A.Uhri, “Ekmek ve Uygarlık”, Metro-Gastro/42, Metro Kültür Yay., İstanbul-2007, s.121. 2 M.Özdoğan, “Neolitik Dönem: Günümüz Uygarlığının Temel Taşları”, 12.000 Yıl Önce “Uygarlığın Anadolu’dan Avrupa’ya Yolculuğunun Başlangıcı” Neolitik Dönem, (edt.)N.Başgelen, YKY Yay., İstanbul-2007, 9-20. 3 G.Willcox-M.Savard, “Güneydoğu Anadolu’da Tarımın Benimsenmesine İlişkin Botanik Veriler”, Anadolu’da Uygarlığın Doğuşu ve Avrupa’ya Yayılımı-Türkiye’de Neolitik Dönem-Yeni Kazılar, Yeni Bulgular, (edt.) M.Özdoğan-N.Başgelen, Arkeoloji ve Sanat Yay., İstanbul-2007, s.427-440. 4 K.Schmidt, “Göbekli Tepe” 12.000 Yıl Önce “Uygarlığın Anadolu’dan Avrupa’ya Yolculuğunun Başlangıcı” Neolitik Dönem, (edt.)N.Başgelen, YKY Yay., İstanbul-2007, s.93-95. 5 P.Dolukhanov, Eski Ortadoğu’da Çevre ve Etnik Yapı, Çev.S.Aydın, İmge Yay., Ankara-1998, 200-202 ve M.N.Cohen, The Food Crisis in Prehistory, Yale Unv. Press., USA-1977, s.135.
6 M.Roaf, Mezopotamya ve Eski Yakındoğu, Çev.Z.Kılıç, İletişim yay., İstanbul-1996, s.27. 7 C.K.Maisels, Uygarlığın Doğuşu, Çev.A.Şenel, İmge Ktbv. Yay., Ankara-1999, s.145. 8 Roaf 1996, s.29. 9 A.Ünal, Etiler ve Hititler, Etibank Yay., İstanbul-1999, s.221. 10 Dolukhanov 1998, s.204 Roaf 1996, s.29, ve
Maisels 1999, s.123 ayrıca Cohen 1977, s.135. 11 S.H.Hook, Ortadoğu Mitolojisi, Çev.A.Şenel, İmge Ktbv., Ankara-1993, s.36-37. 12 A.Ünal, Etiler ve Hititler, Etibank Yay., İstanbul-1999, 215 13 Ünal 1999, 215-217. 14 Tekvin, 3: 18-19. Kitabı Mukaddes, Kitabı Mukaddes Şirketi, İstanbul-1993.
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Bread is the foundation of civilization
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