Bees, Beekeeping and Honey

Early Honey History

Man of Bicor historical rock painting

Honey is as old as history is itself. One of the earliest evidence of honey harvesting is on a rock painting dating back 8000 years, this one found in Valencia, Spain shows a honey seeker robbing a wild bee colony. The bees were subdued with smoke and the tree or rocks opened resulting in destruction of the colony.

It is difficult to appreciate in today's world of convenience, high tech wizardry, junk food and sugar substitutes, the value of honey. Humans have eaten it, bathed in it, fixed their wounds with it and traded with it since history was recorded. Archaeologists discovered honey comb in Egypt that had been buried with the pharaohs in their tombs, the honey was preserved and was still eatable.

In the old testament, the land of Israel was often referred to as the "land flowing of milk and honey". God nourished Jacob with honey from the rock, and gave Israel fine flour, olive oil and honey. John the Baptist ate locusts and wild honey. Honey is mention in the scrolls of the Orient, the Talmud and Koran.

The Romans used honey to heal their wounds after battles. Hannibal, a great warrior gave his army honey and vinegar as they crossed the alps on elephants to battle Rome. During the 10 century, the Kings and Queens of England had fermented honey wine (Mead), the Edmeades family produced some of these.

Honey has been used for many thousands of years, in fact most mans history has references to it. Not surprising though, it is an organic natural sugar, has no additives, easy on the stomach, if stored correctly will have an almost indefinite shelf life and easily adapted to cooking processes.

"Man of Bicor." c. 15000 BC. Cueva de la Arana, Valencia, Spain