Salted Beef, the Food of the Sailors: How to Make It and Why It Matters In Archaeology

Author(s): Grace Tsai; Megan C. Hagseth

Year: 2017


Salted beef has been referred to by a 19th-century historian as the "food of sailors," and was the staple of the naval diet between the 16th to 18th centuries on all European vessels—nearly every shipboard account from this period mentions salted beef being eaten on board. Although also consumed on land, it was especially important at sea, where food decayed at faster rates and fresh supplies were often unavailable for long durations. This paper explores shipboard salted beef from an experimental archaeology perspective through replication of 17th-century salted beef using archaeological data and historical recipes. Exact ingredients used in the past will be sourced and butchery patterns from bovine remains on 17th-century shipwrecks will be replicated with precision. We conclude with the significance of the results in aiding our understanding of past sailor health and daily life, and why this research is relevant today.

Cite this Record

Salted Beef, the Food of the Sailors: How to Make It and Why It Matters In Archaeology. Grace Tsai, Megan C. Hagseth. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Fort Worth, TX. 2017 ( tDAR id: 435389)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 222