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Keywords:

  • rural;
  • immigrants;
  • polymerase chain reaction;
  • wheat;
  • rye

Abstract

Charred bread was recovered from an archaeological site in southern Wisconsin. The site was part of mid-to late-nineteenth century rural hamlet known historically to have been resident to many German immigrant families. Given the cultural proclivity by the Germanic peoples for rye bread, the archaeological sample was hypothesized to be rye. To test this hypothesis, a polymerase chain reaction analysis of DNA extracted from the bread was conducted. Recovered DNA indicates that the bread was made of wheat flour. The reasons for this are explored.