British ate frogs’ legs before French

Archaeologists find remains of ‘cooked toad or frog leg’ during dig at Amesbury near Stonehenge

16 October 2013

FROGS’ legs are considered a French delicacy, but new archaeological evidence suggests ancient Britons were the first to discover their culinary qualities - up to 8,000 years ago.

Archaeologists at a site close to Stonehenge in southwest England have discovered the charred leg bone of a toad among other food remains dating back to between 6250 BC and 7596 BC.

This makes the discovery "the earliest evidence of a cooked toad or frog leg found in the world", said the team from the University of Buckingham.

The humerus was found at the dig in Amesbury in Wiltshire alongside small fish vertebrae bones, likely salmon or trout, and burnt bones from aurochs, the predecessor of cows.

Archaeologist David Jacques said they suggested a diet "consisting of toads' legs, aurochs, wild boar and red deer with hazelnuts for main, another course of salmon and trout and finishing off with blackberries".

He and the rest of the team of Mesolithic period experts say they hope to confirm Amesbury as the UK's oldest continuous settlement.

In France, diners eat up to 4,000 tonnes of cuisses de grenouille a year, all imported because commercial frog harvesting was banned in 1980.
© AFP/Connexion - Photo: Alan D. Wils

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