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Seaweeds in history and prehistory

I think about seaweeds every day. I know this is strange and probably not true for most people. Normal is to think daily about geraniums, football, the stock market or reality TV. Having worked with algae for 20 years has however made a cryptogamic mark on a previously relativly sane mind. Around me work people with the same mental condition and a similarly troubled background. So, to me, this obsession is not strange, working and thinking of seaweeds is a perfectly normal behaviour. My question is thus not why people are interested in seaweeds but rather- when did it start?

 

At what period of our past did people start to explore the magic world of seaweeds?
Did our ancestors climb down from the trees and immediately into the intertidal, becoming the first phycologists?
Or was there a lag phase with more interesting things to explore on the savannah!?
And in that case, how long time did it take before the first humans took interest in seaweeds?

 

What do we know from historical sources and archaeological findings?

 

Here is a presentation of, to my knowledge, the earliest prehistoric proof of human use of seaweed, an archaeological find from Southern Chile, and the first from historic times, the first mention of seaweed in literature, in the epos of Gilgamesh. You will also find an analysis of seaweed philosophy in ancient Rome and the religious significance of seaweeds within the Celtic cultural sphere. This is a collection of small texts primarily written for the algal research community so there are some internal "jokes" and issues.

First a note, I have taken some of the material from the "world wide web of useful information, confusion, lies and half truths" so be aware…

 

Jonas Collén

 

 

 

Senast uppdaterad 2010-01-04 18:27