The Italians know it: olive oil is a serious matter, as it is the symbol of our cuisine and is widely used in most of our delicious dishes. It has been used for thousands of years and a study appears to have confirmed this, given that a team of researchers has identified what it appears to be the oldest oil in Italy.
By carrying out chemical analyzes to identify the contents of a large vase, found in the 1990s during excavations at the Castelluccio site (Syracuse), the experts of the Paolo Arsi Regional Archaeological Museum – which we remember to be one of the main archaeological museums in Europe – have restored and reassembled 400 ceramic fragments, giving life to an egg-shaped container of about one meter, adorned with bands of rope and three vertical handles on each side.
At the site, researchers found two other containers, used to hold multiple separate substances together. The three vessels date back to the end of the third and beginning of the second millennium BC. (Early Bronze Age), according to Davide Tanasi, assistant professor of history at the University of South Florida. Because they wanted to learn more about their use, the experts conducted chemical analyzes of the organic residues found inside.
The team found organic residues from all three samples containing oleic and linoleic acids, recognizable signatures of olive oil. The artifacts, the experts conclude, date back to the early Sicilian Bronze Age due to their position and peculiar shapes. This discovery brings back the clock hands for the production of olive oil of at least 700 years.
In short, we Italians have always known how to eat well.