Scientists have figured out how to eat the poor and the rich.
Researchers from the University of southern Denmark, examined the remains of the Danes and the Italians who lived in the middle ages, which gave the opportunity to learn more about the life of people of that era and the differences between nobility and the common people.
A team of scientists examined the remains of 69 people buried in two private chapels, one in Svendborg in Denmark, the other in Montella, Italy. They were looking for in the bones trace elements and heavy metals, which reveal details of human nutrition throughout his life.
The representatives of the noble families was more lead in the bones due to consumption of wine containing salts of lead and mercury, which was an expensive remedy for leprosy and syphilis. However, their bones were discovered less strontium and barium, than in the remains of poor people. This suggests that the rich ate more meat, while the commoners are mainly fed cereals.
In addition, the researchers found that the level of copper in the Italian samples was higher than in Denmark — both among the nobility and the poor.
“This can be explained by the fact that the Danes didn’t cook in copper pots and vessels and, on the contrary, Italians did it regularly, regardless of their social situation“, — explained the researchers.
As a result, the level of copper from the Italians was 21 times higher than that of Danes. Danish and Italian wealthy families had more lead in bones than the less affluent. Lead was used for coating cooking utensils and is added to wine to inhibit fermentation.
“The highest concentration of lead indicates a high social status. This is also confirmed by other research, “said scientists.
The researchers also found high levels of mercury in the Italian nobility, as she used it as a medicine for the treatment of diseases such as leprosy and syphilis.