The Neolithic meal was a very eye-opening experience, as it was the first time I truly had to work for my food. Sometimes I think tenderizing meat with a meat tenderizer or picking the seeds out of a pomegranate are difficult, but this experience gave a whole new meaning to the world difficult. I mainly worked on the meat, which I think was the most difficult. It’s difficulty came not necessarily from the act of cutting the meat itself, but from trying to find a grip and edge on the tool that would properly cut the meat. Once I was able to establish a good technique I found that working on the fatty parts was the easiest. The skin was really difficult to cut through, and was also really disgusting. I had never seen a meat skin that thick before. The whole meat experience made me really think about how important the advent of things such as steel knives with handles and cutting boards are. The meat was also very difficult to cut because I was sitting down and was only using the uneven ground as my pressure source. It was hard to put as much muscle into it because of its position. 

Although I did not work with the barley I would say that grinding it up was also a very difficult task. The same issue of having a hard surface to put pressure against was evident, and the barley was so small to begin with that it needed very individual attention to grind up. Overall, the experience was very educational and a little bit enjoyable. I was surprised at how much product we were able to refine in about an hour, and would imagine that if we did this regularly it would have been even more. As difficult as it was for me, a modern human, to work through, I think that if I were used to it it would not be as bad. 

Olivia Sapin