Preferences in Meat Consumption of People throughout the Ages Inhabiting the Present—Day Territory of Poland According to Archeaezoological Evidence
This paper describes meat consumption preferences of people from antiquity inhabiting the territory of present day Poland based on archaeological evidence from the skeletal remains of domestic and wild animals. Much information is provided about meat stocks and the scale of meat consumption by various social groups from these ancient times. Skeleton remains of cattle from the Neolithic period, (estimated in Poland to be around 4600-2100 B.C.), constitute on average from 44.0 to 73.0% of all animal remains found whilst the numbers for swine remains were from 36.9 to 19.0%. Looking at the 8 regions of contemporary Poland then in pre-Roman and Roman periods cattle bone remains ranged from 37.5% in East Pomerania to 80.9% in Central Poland. Those from swine ranged from 42.3 and 11.7%, respectively. In the Middle Ages, (defined as 7-13th century A.D.), cattle bone remains constituted from 30 to 50% and those of swine from 28.0 to 52%. In all of the analysed periods goat/sheep remains amounted to 15%. The skeletal remains of horses during the Roman and pre-Roman periods reached different values in different regions, i.e. from 2.7 in Greater Poland to 11.3% in Silesia however in the Middle Ages they were all below 5%. Fish remains consisting of mainly herring, pike and various other species have been continuously found to be present in the diet of people from Neolithic to the Middle ages.
Nowadays in Poland the annual consumption of pork amounts to 42 kg per capita constituting 57.8% of the total meat consumption (72.7 kg), against only about 5 kg of beef.