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Honey hunting

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– Africa:
Honey hunting is a traditional practice in various African cultures.
– Hunters have been gathering honey in Africa for thousands of years.
– The activity is deeply intertwined with indigenous societies across the continent.
– Rock paintings dating back to 8,000 BC provide evidence of early honey gathering in Africa.
– Commercial honey hunting was prevalent in Europe during the Middle Ages.

– Asia:
– In Nepal, the Gurung tribesmen engage in honey hunting in the Himalayan foothills.
– The Himalayan cliff bees, known as Apis laboriosa, are the target of honey hunters in Nepal.
– A dangerous yet traditional practice, honey hunting in Nepal involves precarious conditions and indigenous tools.
– In Bangladesh and India’s Sunderban forest, honey hunters known as Mawals risk their lives due to tiger attacks.
Harvest rituals in Bangladesh and India involve prayers, sacrifices, and smoking out bees from their honeycombs.

– Europe:
– In ancient times, honey collection was not a commercial activity in Europe.
Honey hunting evolved into a trade during the Early Middle Ages in German-speaking central Europe.
– Traditional honey hunters in Europe did not use man-made beehives but rather cut holes in old trees for bees to nest.
– Valuable conifer stands were essential for tree beekeeping in Europe.
– Regions like the Fichtel Mountains and Nuremberg Imperial Forest were significant for honey hunting in the Middle Ages.

– Distribution:
Conifer stands were crucial for tree beekeeping in Europe.
Honey hunting was prominent in regions like the Fichtel Mountains and Nuremberg Imperial Forest.
– Forest beekeeping dates back to 959 in Bavaria and was critical for gingerbread production in Nuremberg.
– The Nuremberg Reichswald was a significant source of honey for the region.
– The castle of Zeidlerschloss in Feucht and the Grunewald area were known for honey hunting traditions.

– Literature and Film:
– The documentary “Honeyland” released in 2019 is set in North Macedonia.
– Eva Crane’s book “The World History of Beekeeping and Honey Hunting” is a notable literature piece.
– Various other literature references like Hermann Geffcken’s work are available on the topic.
– Karl Hasel and Ekkehard Schwartz’s book on “Forstgeschichte” provides insights into forest history.
– Mark Synnott’s article “The Last Honey Hunter” in National Geographic explores honey hunting practices.

Honey hunting (Wikipedia)

Honey hunting or honey harvesting is the gathering of honey from wild bee colonies. It is one of the most ancient human activities and is still practiced by aboriginal societies in parts of Africa, Asia, Australia and South America. Some of the earliest evidence of gathering honey from wild colonies is from rock painting, dating to around 8,000 BC. In the Middle Ages in Europe, the gathering of honey from wild or semi-wild bee colonies was carried out on a commercial scale.

Gathering honey from wild bee colonies is usually done by subduing the bees with smoke and breaking open the tree or rocks where the colony is located, often resulting in the physical destruction of the colony.

Honey seeker depicted on 8000-year-old cave painting near Valencia, Spain at Cuevas de la Araña en Bicorp
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