Fast food is often regarded as a modern scourge, one that has made us fatter and ruined family dinners everywhere. But fast food isn’t essentially an American invention. It’s been around since ancient times. According to evidence found at Godin Tepe, an archaeological site in the mountains of western Iran, inhabitants used ‘windows’ to source and distributed food and even weapons more than 5000 years ago.
The Godin Tepe is located in the Zagros Mountains near the modern city of Kangavar. It was excavated in the 1960s and 1970s by a team led by T. Cuyler Young Jr, a curator at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada. After Young’s death in 2006, the researchers continued their work and published their findings in, “On the High Road: The History of Godin Tepe” (Hilary Gopnik and Mitchell Rothman, Mazda Publishers, 2011).
The research revealed that Godin Tepe started as a simple rural agricultural village by the Sumerians of ancient Mesopotamia around the mid-fifth millennium BC. It remained so for around 1000 years. Around 3200 BC, the village’s small houses were razed to build the main building around an oval enclosed area. The building looked like a courtyard. One of surrounding walls that faced into the courtyard had two windows, which was unique for the architecture at that time in the Middle East.
On looking inside through the windows, the researchers found beveled rimmed bowls that were used commonly in the region along with a fireplace and food remains. The food remains included dried lentils, sheep and goat bones. They also found more than 1700 clay sling bullets, that was used primarily for hunting and warfare.
Hilary Gopnik of Emory University discussed regarding these finds at a symposium at the Royal Ontario Museum and argued that the evidence suggested that Godin Tepe resembled some old take out joint. Victoria Badler, a doctoral student of Dr. Young’s, suggests that it may have some military significance and the windows may have been used to pass out provisions to the soldiers.
Even in the past, Godin Tepe has given out many such ‘windows’ into its ancient civilization. In the early 1990s, archaeologists found some chemical evidence that the Godin Tepe people were making. The findings that were published in the journal Nature suggested that people drank beer as early as 3500 BC. It is believed that beer was the favorite beverage of the Sumerian civilization as many works of art depicting people drinking out of a large vessel had been found. The earliest known chemical evidence of wine was found by researchers was also found at the same site.
The Godin Tepe’s strategic position along the east-west trade route, also known as the High Road or Silk Road eventually links the Mediterranean with China. As a result, Godin Tepe served as an important Sumerian trading post. The settlement was abandoned during the second or third millennium BC. It remains a mystery whether the inhabitants left the place under peaceful or violent circumstances.