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W. Van Neer and S. Parker (2008)

First archaeozoological evidence for haimation, the ‘invisible’ garum

Journal of Archaeological Science, 35:1821-1827.

The fish remains are described that were found at the bottom of an Early Roman ceramic jar from Aila Aqaba, Jordan. The bones, representing the gill apparatuses of at least 33 medium-sized tunas (Auxis; Scombridae) and a single individual of a lizardfish (Trachinocephalus myops; Synodontidae), are believed to correspond to haimation. This highly prized fish sauce, documented previously only from ancient textual evidence, was typically made from the gills and the entrails of tunnids to which salt was added. The sauce was not imported from the Mediterranean or the Black Sea, but made from local Red Sea fish as shown by the zoogeographical distribution of the lizardfish that is considered as stomach content of the tunas. Because the fish bones were found in a locally produced jar and because the calculated volume of the haimation that the bones represent corresponds more or less to the volume of the jar, it is concluded that this high-quality garum was produced in this container at Aila itself.
Peer Review, International Redaction Board, Impact Factor
IF 2011 = 1,914
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