Souvlaki and Non-Stick Pans Invented by Ancient Greeks



souvlaki-trayNew scientific research reveals that the ancient Mycenaean’s, apart from being great warriors and excellent architects, were also very good cooks. More than 3,000 years ago this ancient civilization was using portable grilling trays for making souvlaki and non-stick pans for baking bread.

The Mycenaean civilization thrived during the late Bronze Age from around 1,600 BC to 1,100 BC, at sites such as Mycenae in the Argolid in the Peloponnese, Greece. They were referred to in Homer’s epics, the Odyssey and Iliad, and they left behind many elaborate palaces and tombs containing precious artifacts and important historic evidence. Some of the items discovered were simpler though, like souvlaki trays and griddles made from clay.

“It wasn’t clear how these two types of pans were used,” said Julie Hruby of Dartmouth College, presenting her research at the Archaeological Institute of America’s annual meeting.

“We don’t have any recipes,” said Hruby during an interview and reported on the website LiveScience. “What we do have are tablets that mention provisions for feasts, so we have some idea of what the ingredients might have been, but in terms of understanding how people cooked, the cooking pots are really our best bet.”

The souvlaki trays are made of clay and support the skewers of meat between raised parallel edges. Until recently it was not clear if the whole tray was placed directly over the fire, or whether the tray itself held the hot coals; a sort of pre-historic portable BBQ. On the other hand, the round griddles had a smooth side, while the other was covered with tiny holes, which caused some confusion among archaeologists as to its use.

In order to investigate how these trays may have been used, Hruby replicated with the help of a ceramist, two examples and tested them to see if they could be used to cook meat and bake bread. The results were impressive.

It was found that the clay was too thick for the souvlaki to cook properly when the tray was placed over a fire. Placing the coals inside the tray was a much more effective cooking method.

“We should probably envision these as portable cooking devices – perhaps used during Mycenaean picnics,” said the archaeologist.

As for the griddles, bread was more likely to stick when it was cooked on the smooth side of the pan. The holes would appear to be an ancient non-stick technology, ensuring that oil spread evenly over the griddle.

During excavations at Mycenaean sites in the early 20th century, cooking pots were often overlooked or even thrown out. Today researchers are starting to pay more attention to these types of archaeological finds, in order to get a more complete picture of life during the Bronze Age.

For the full article and more pictures, visit LiveScience.


15 COMMENTS

  1. A be, the barbarians aka Macedonians were ripping limbs of goats & cooking them on the spit like real warriors do.

    This version is the petite version hence why Greece lost all wars

  2. The Greeks saved their spears for skewering barbarians from the North and East. In fact they took their souvlakis into battle. Where do you think the term; “Eat and run them through” came from?

  3. It looks like Nadia’s friend has a 1911 Colt 45 in hand and isn’t afraid to use it. Any way glad to see you admire our Greek women from a distance. Anything including the cow must better that the moustached Bulgarian beasties ripping the goats apart with their bare hands.

  4. Even if the Macedonians were barbarians im the beginning they were the ones who united Greece and became the greatest of greeks for a THOUSAND years before any slav invaded so it does not matter anyway what you say about ancient times. But they were always greeks and the ONLY ones in entire ancient world who said no was athens ( and Aeschines also said they were not barbarians, so even athens was not united in this belief!) which also called arcadians and spartans barbarians so only a retard like skopians would listen to their words like the word of god.

  5. Whats ur name? Alexandrovsky TrajaSlav? Ljubenek Slavodor? Mlanden Boskovice?

    The only sure thing is that these were not the names of the ancient Macedonians.

  6. Where do you think the wood from the spears came from idiot? Macedonia is the mountainous Balkan region. You don’t have anything worth growing on your rock hard ground.

  7. You just keep imagining a Macedonian woman trying to handle you…

    But you’d probably prefer man, reminds you of the Sacred Band Theban brotherhood

  8. It us true that some Greeks have Turks surnames, because during the ottoman era many adopted Turkish names to avoid the christian tax and enjoy the benefits of a muslim.

    Too bad for you, the superb majority of the Greek population have christian and Greek names, not slavic ones like you and your yugoslavia neighbors….

    While in Greece u can find people with Greek-only names like Daphne, Alexander, Phillip, Hermes, Ares, Pericles, Aristotles, Themistoklis, Leonidas, Pelopidas, Athinagoras, Dimos, Dimitris and Demetra, Aphrodite,

    in Skopje you find names like Slavkovski, Naumov, Pandev, Ivanoff, Ivanoffski, Ristoslav and i dont know what…

  9. You modern day Skopians are too Bulgarian to be Macedonian.

    In the 1990s,Macedonians speak a language codified in 1946,spoken by less than two million people, and with a
    very slender literature. They are members of an Orthodox Church whose authority was established by a socialist political regime in 1968.They are heirs to a 1903 revolution that until the 1940s was described by almost all sources as
    being Bulgarian.

    “The history of the Balkan
    Peninsula” Ferdinand Schevill page 432

  10. You keep imagining that you are “Macedonian”. There isn’t a single Macedonian in FYROM. Not one. You are a nation of ultra nationalist frauds that hide your mostly ethnic Bulgarian heritage