6.6.2 Food and Drink Production

Perhaps the clearest evidence of food production is in the querns recovered from sites, including Lair (Strachan et al 2019, 83). Dundurn fort produced two quern stones that indicate food production on site. A possible early medieval corn-drying kiln was excavated at the Kinross High School site (MPK17086; Cachart 2008, 33), as well as at Newmill West (MPK2331; Wilson and Clarke 2019).

Pot quern stone (68) and whetstones (74, 76) from Dundurn ©️ Leslie Alcock

Evidence of early medieval livestock husbandry is provided by the bones of cattle from Bertha Park (MPK20180; Robertson 2020) and cattle, pigs and sheep/goats at Lair (Smith 2019). Live cattle and sheep would have provided milk for human consumption, most likely processed and consumed as cheese and butter, since fresh milk spoils quickly. Upon slaughter, cattle, sheep/goats and pigs provided a source of meat protein and fats. Isotopic analysis of Blair Atholl man, an individual dating to the 5th–6th centuries AD, indicated a high trophic terrestrial protein diet which most likely originated from pork consumption (MPK1168; Czére et al 2021).

By-products of animal slaughter such as hides, skins, woolfells, sinew and bone were also important as raw materials in artefact manufacture.