This is the first in a series of entries on a brief history of honey and its use in pre-1600's history.
Honey is an all natural food that has been produced by bees for over twenty million years. There is evidence that man has exploited honey for about ten-thousand years (Crane, 1980, pg 19). Bees and honey have been regarded as sacred objects for just as long as evidenced by cave paintings. The earliest known evidence of beekeeping, as opposed to honey-hunting, is 3,000 years old (Friedman, 2008). Honey was a staple in the Medieval and Renaissance household until sugar became cheaper.
Honey was an important staple in the Medieval and Renaissance household and economy. It had more uses than just food. It was used to barter with and make mead with. As sugar became more popular and cheaper to produce, honey became less and less important.