Masterplan derailed by tasty archaeological find

31 March 2017

Major discovery at Masterplan building site (April Fool's Story 2017)

The University of Central Lancashire has made an amazing discovery which could shed new light on our ancient ancestors’ culinary preferences. 

As contractors prepared to perform exploratory drilling on the site of the University’s new student centre they came across, what turned out to be, a perfectly preserved prehistoric pie.

A spokesperson for the contractors said: “We weren’t sure what it was at first, the site manager spotted it sticking out of the earth and we thought it might have been a small WW2 bomb. Then we saw what looked to be a crust. Whatever it was we knew we had something pretty unusual on our hands so we called in the University’s archaeological specialists.”

After closer inspection in University labs the ancient pie find was confirmed. It represents an important link to Preston’s heritage and archaeologists at the University are hoping that it will provide valuable insight into our ancestor’s pie preferences.

Rick Peterson, Senior Lecturer in Archaeology said: “The UCLan pie is potentially a really important piece of evidence for past diets and lifeways. We already know from isotopic bone-chemistry studies of the Preston Dock skulls, that prehistoric and early medieval people in the area had a diet, which was rich in protein and carbohydrates. A find like this, of an actual preserved piece of food, tells us so much more about the detail of what people ate. We don’t yet know exactly how old the pie is but once it has been dated, it may turn out to be even as old as the famous 6000 year old barm-cake from Yarnton in Oxfordshire.”

The pie has long been associated with Lancashire but research has shown that pies have been a part of the human diet since the Egyptian Neolithic period. Flat, round, crusty cakes known as Galettes were served as sweet desserts and are thought to be the predecessor of today’s humble pie.

Songbirds were a particular specialty during the Tudor times, which lead to its later and more commonly known adaptation in pre-Victorian times. Presentation in a porcelain ornament, a rich sauce and release of steam were the markers of a good pie. Forensic testing on the recently discovered pie should identify its ingredients, which may indicate the original sell by date.

A large portion of the area surrounding the discovery has since been cordoned off, in the hope of finding more elements of, what some experts are saying could be, an ancient fully preserved Lancashire banquet.