[Sca-cooks] Another, older, banana found in London

Terry Decker t.d.decker at att.net
Wed Jul 14 20:09:26 PDT 2010

This is a find that has been previously discussed on the list (originally in 
2001), rather than a new discovery.  The 1999 date is important because it 
is close to the time of the actual dig.  Several years after the discovery, 
the banana was genetically determined to be a plantain (if memory serves). 
The article pre-dates the lab work, which means that the author only had 
access to the tentative identification and further research negated the 
probability of it being a sweet banana.

The poster on the Calontir list makes the error of assuming the plantain was 
deposited in the mid-15th Century.  The site is a midden which, IIRC, was a 
fish market with live tanks, that was abandoned in the 15th Century and 
became a trash dump.  The plantain was located at a level of the midden 
placing it in the early to middle 16th Century and it was determined not to 
be a more modern intrusive artifact.  Hmmm, "fish ponds in Southwark" is the 
article description of the site.

One of the people on the project started a paper on exotic fruit being 
marketed during the Tudor dynasty, but I haven't heard anything more about 


> Please explain how it being written in 1999 negates the probability of it
> being a plantain instead of the sweet bananas that we get in the stores??
> De
> -----Original Message-----
> If you read the date on the article, it's from 1999.
> /Margaret
> On Wed, 14 Jul 2010, otsisto wrote:
>> This is more likely plantain.
>> De
>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From the Calontir list.
>> Stefan
>> Begin forwarded message:
>>>  http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/370550.stm
>>> Older than I thought (Mid 15th C, not early 16th) and in a trash heap,
> not
>> a toilet.
>>> And the article suggests that they may actually have been common.
>>> Jane
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