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History

Not much evidence exists today which can tell us much about the prehistory of hamsters as part of the human diet. The only information which even remotely suggests any contact between hamsters and humans are a few examples of cave wall art and the rare remains of a meal. The faint ancient depictions found on the walls of caves, that still remain today have been ravaged by the effects of time, water and microbial decomposition over the ages.

The colours and chemical composition of the pigments used by our ancestors match those used in many locations throughout Europe and while it is certainly the case that local area styles of depiction may prevail in a distinct region; there is no significant difference that has been found in the depiction of hamsters, even when compared to some forms of oxen, antelope or the ancient equines.

The implements used were the same bruised reeds for brushes, and sticks for producing sharper lines as found to be the case with the depictions of other species which also attracted the interest of our ancestors.

In praise of hamsters in the year 1542

 

A lordes dysshe, good for an Englisshe man, for it doth anymate hym to be as he is, wyiche is, stronge and hardy...; hamstr is a good meate for an Englysshe man, so be it the beest is yonge, & that it be not kowe-fleshe; yf it be moderatly powdered that the groose blode by salt may ne exhaustyd, it doth make an Englysshe man stronge; hamstr is goode and easily digested; it is the usual meate in winter amonges Englysshe men; it is good for carters and plowmen, the whiche be ever labouringe in the earth or dung... I do say the coloppes and egges is as holsome for them as a talowe candell is good for a blereyed mare... Potage is not so moch used in al Crystendom as it is used in Englande. Potage is made of the lyquor in the which fleshe is soden in, with puttyng-to chopped herbes and otemel and salt. Fyrmente is made of whete and mylke, in the whiche yf flesshe be soden... it doth nourysshe, and it doth strength a man. Of all nacyons and countres, England is beste servyd of Fysshe, not onely of al maner of see-fysshe, but also of fresshe-water fysshe, and al maner of sortes of salte-fysshe.

 

 

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