heritage insight

The Greatest Family Lunch Ever Knew

Ok so this isn’t strictly about archaeology but hey, we all need to eat!

John Montague is one of my personal heroes. Not that we have a lot in common. He became an Earl in 1729 at the age of 10. Sadly I did not. He was a great friend of Captain James Cook, who named several islands after him including the Sandwich Islands (now Hawaii) and Montagu Islands off the coast of Antarctica. As far as I am aware no one has named an island after me… yet. He was also a Colonel in the army however it was short lived. He fell ill with fever before really ever accomplishing anything in the position and almost died. Thankfully he didn’t die. If he had he never would have invented- THE SANDWICH! That’s right, John Montague was the 4th Earl of Sandwich and during lazy days playing poker and working tirelessly in his office he found he wanted a convenient snack. Something that was hearty, quickly assembled and easy to eat. Thus the sandwich was born. He truly was a man of great genius and I pay homage to his greatness every day at lunchtime. What I didn’t realise was that he was born into a line of greatness. His family had been inventing tummy taming treats for decades.

John Montagu’s great great grandfather, Edward Montagu also did a bunch of impressive things. He served as a Member of Parliament in the 1640s and 50s. He also fought in the Second Anglo-Dutch War at the Battle of Lowestoft. Most importantly he invented FROZEN CHOCOLATE DRINKS. Yep, the Earls of Sandwich pretty much invented the greatest lunch time combination in history. Edward Montagu’s receipe went like this:

“Prepare the chocolatti [to make a drink]… and Then Putt the vessell that hath the Chocolatti in it, into a Jaraffa [i.e. a carafe] of snow stirred together with some salt, & shaike the snow together sometyme & it will putt the Chocolatti into tender Curdled Ice & soe eate it with spoons.”

Amazing! In a time when people were afraid that chocolate could cause insomnia, haemorrhoids or even damage the stomach, heart, and lungs, Edward Montagu threw caution to the wind and created the ancestor of the Frappuccino. That kind of daring should be celebrated. Often.

Off to lunch!

Alex Kirton- Future King of Archaeology

Alex Kirton. Known for his discovery of an 1,800 year old carved stone head, he is one of the most famous archaeologists in the world at the moment.

I’m sorry?


You haven’t heard of Alex Kirton?

That’s probably because he’s a first year student and he discovered the head on his second ever archaeological dig. I know, right!

The 19 year old’s discovery is very similar to a carved head found in 1862 Benwell, Newcastle of the Celtic deity Antenocitius, a god associated with warfare. The head was located at a Roman Fort site in Binchester and was buried with some rubbish in what was probably the bath house. The head is believed to date from the 2nd or 3rd century AD and is a fascinating example of the mixing artistic styles of the Roman and Romano-British traditions. The fort is being investigated as part of an attempt to understand the Roman Empire in its final years and the carved head is considered to be one of the most exciting finds yet…

Yeah, he’s officially my nemesis.

I mean good for him. Yep that’s great, good on you. Find something possibly career changing a year into studying. NOT EVEN A YEAR! Nope, sorry calming down.

I’m happy for you.

Totally, 100% happy for you.

Alex Kirton. The chosen one… apparently.