Feeding Of Nomads In Prehistory

The nomads in prehistory ate what they hunted and gathered. They were roaming bands or hordes, usually made up of one family or more. They moved from one place to another without settling anywhere.

They did not know agriculture because they did not settle in a fixed place. They ate what they gathered: wild fruits, young leaves, nuts, roots, cereals, grasses, and bird eggs. They also hunted animals that were in their environment

The diet depended on the geographic location where they were: when they were near the sea or rivers, the diet included fish.

Those who moved through mountain areas needed a diet rich in calories; if they momentarily passed through these areas they would consume milk and meat.
But due to the rapid decomposition of these foods, they could not move them. Later they would learn to preserve them by drying or salting them.

By constantly finding herds grazing, milk became one of the most frequent foods of the nomads. Then they would learn how to transform it into butter and cheese.

Nomad feeding according to the prehistoric period


In this period, the diet consisted of the consumption of vegetables, insects and, occasionally, some small animals.


The consumption of meat becomes more frequent, sometimes in the form of carrion, or by hunting an animal.

The main diet is still vegetable.


The basis of the diet was meat and, later, fish, depending on where the harvest was made.

However, in this period the consumption of vegetables continues to be important in the daily diet.


At this time cereals and dairy products are added to the diet, through cultivation and animal husbandry.

With the appearance of ceramics, the first purees and porridges appear. It is also when man leaves his nomadic condition and forms the first sedentary communities.

Type of feeding of the first men

From the remains found, it is also possible to deduce what the first hominids fed on.

For example, on a skull found in Chad, dating back 7 million years, it is deduced that they ate roots, fruits, nuts and young leaves, given their dental morphology and the thickness of the enamel.

The australopithecines added to the same old diet some rodents, snakes, eggs and insects.

The hominids of the paranthropus group based their diet only on vegetables.

The studied teeth of Homo habilis  allow us to deduce that two thirds of its diet was based on plants. The rest of the diet consisted of the intake of some small animals.  

For its part, Homo erectus , thanks to its skills as a hunter, begins to consume meat on a regular basis.

He manufactures tools, both for hunting and for his daily life. Their diet also includes many products of plant origin.

The man of Neanderthal consumed almost exclusively meat. It is also one of the first to consume a fish-based diet, depending on the geographical area in which it lived. 

Finally, Homo sapiens appears , now definitely sedentary. He went from being a gatherer to raising cattle and dedicating himself to agriculture.


  1. “What the nomads eat” in What They Eat. Recovered in September 2017 from What They Eat at: quecomen.net
  2. “Food in prehistory” in History of cooking (July 2011). Recovered in September 2017 from La Alcazaba Magazine at: laalcazaba.org
  3. “Nomadic and sedentary peoples” in the Educational Portal. Recovered in September 2017 from the Educational Portal at: portaleducativo.net
  4. “Eating in prehistory” in A Fuego Lento (January 2008). Recovered in September 2017 from A Fuego Lento in: afuegolento.com
  5. “Prehistory: how did the hunters and gatherers of the Palaeolithic age live” in Sobrehistoria. Recovered in September 2017 from Sobrehistoria at: sobrehistoria.com

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