Rediscovering an ancient oil fruit in southwestern Australia

Aim: The aim of our reconstructive anthropological experiments was to gain an understanding of why Noongar people, unlike other Aboriginal groups in Australia, processed and consumed only the sarcotesta (outer fleshy layer) of Macrozamia discarding the carbohydrate-rich seed (endosperm).  It is our assumption that the sarcotesta was processed for a number of reasons, most importantly … Continued

The ancient practice of Macrozamia pit processing in southwestern Australia

Introduction  Why did Noongar people ferment Macrozamia sarcotesta? Was it to detoxify it? It is our view that over many thousands of years of trial-and-error and empirical scientific observations that Noongar people developed their own unique and sustainable food processing techniques, in particular the controlled anaerobic fermentation of the fruit (seed covering, outer rind) of Macrozamia … Continued

Typha root: an ancient nutritious food in Noongar culture

In our paper on bardi grubs we mooted the possibility that indigenous people of southwestern Australia practised the earliest known form of insect husbandry. It is not hard to imagine that these same people also practised a type of incipient agriculture, as noted by Grey (1841: 294) with his reference to the cultivation of yunjeedie … Continued

The Puzzle of the Bardi Grub in Nyungar Culture

As anthropologists we have often been confused by the use of the indigenous terms bardi and witchetty used to describe edible grubs in Australia.  These terms are often used interchangeably to the point where bardi becomes defined as a witjuti grub and vice versa.  How confusing is that?

Root Bark Eating in Southwestern Australia

Root bark is a little understood bush tucker that was once consumed by the indigenous Nyoongar people of inland southwestern Australia.1 The bark was collected to extract nutritious plant sugars found in the inner bark and vascular cambium of the roots of certain species of Eucalyptus trees.  The living inner bark and vascular tissue forms … Continued

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