The Bees Did It 3000 Years Ago


Photo credit: netean

Just in time for the Jewish New Year, we find this little nugget of news reported on CNN: Archeologists from Hebrew University unearthed what they believe are 3000-year-old beekeeping hives. They have found remnants of ancient honeycombs, beeswax and what are reported to be the oldest intact beehives ever found.

We have followed the honey bee scare in the US and elsewhere here on TreeHugger and marvel that an advanced honey industry already existed in the Holy Land in biblical times. Beekeeping, continues the CNN piece, was widely practiced in the ancient world, where honey was used for medicinal and religious purposes as well as for food; and beeswax was used to make molds for metal and to create surfaces to write on...


But these practices were not known to exist in Israel - often referred to as the "land of milk and honey" in the Bible. But like a lot of biblical lore, it was believed the "honey" descriptor was a metaphor for honey made from figs and dates. This new finding illustrates ancient beekeeping practices were alive and well thousands of years ago.

For Jews in Israel and everywhere else in the world, this news comes at an auspicious time. This week marks the new calendar year (5768), celebrated with a festive meal, gift giving (check out TreeHugger green gift-giving guides while you're at it), and new seasonal fruits such as pomegranates and apples dipped in honey. And no Rosh Hashanna (new year) would be complete without honey cake. We have already had a salesperson from Angel Bakery try to shove it down our throat last week and we swear, he wouldn't let us walk past the sidewalk until we agreed to try a bite. In a way, honey cake is like Christmas cake - many people give it to you, most of it just sits in your cupboard for weeks and sometimes months. Chag Sameach, and Happy New Year to all Jewish TreeHuggers everywhere. ::CNN

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