Humans started exploiting beehive products around 9000 years ago

Findings of a new study are suggesting that honeybees from 9,000 years back were also not protected from farmers. Famers used to exploit the benefits of honeybees’ labor for themselves even during the ancient times.

After studying related facts for years, researchers have come to know that humans started consuming honey 4000 to 9000 years back. A research team comprising of archaeologists spotted traces of beeswax in cooking utensils that are believed to belong to the Stone Age.

The researchers stated that while it’s a known fact that people were aware of honey’s existence and used it since the ancient times, no study to date could confirm exactly how long back honey started becoming a part of our day to day living.

The research revealed that during the ancient times, the colonies remained limited to Northern Europe. They came to this conclusion as no traces of beeswax were spotted in the pottery samples belonging to areas like Ireland, Scotland and northern Scandinavia.

University of Bristol’s chemist Richard Evershed said that although evidence obtained so far indicates that our association with honeybees started thousands of years back, it cannot be stated when and where exactly the association emerged.

Archaeologists found the pottery and cooking vessels carrying traces of beeswax in different sites in southern Britain, Denmark, Balkans, Algeria and several other parts of Europe. Researchers informed that the oldest piece was found in Catalhoyuk, Turkey. They added that honey and bees got exploited relentlessly by the humans for thousands of years; there’s even evidence, which indicate that bees were not just exploited for getting honey, but also for different cultural and technological applications.

Mélanie Roffet-Salque, another chemist from the University of Bristol, said that beeswax had its use in a number of rituals and was also used for several medicinal, cosmetic and technological purposes. For example, she said that since the ancient times humans have been using beeswax for waterproofing porous ceramic vessels.

Roffet-Salque also didn’t forget to highlight the popularity honey has enjoyed as a food item since the prehistoric era. She said that for the prehistorics, honey possibly used to be a rare sweetener.

The findings of this new study have been published in the journal Nature. Researchers are now trying to find out the procedure adopted by the ancient humans for acquiring the fiercely guarded, delicious bee product.