Chicken tikka masala or fried nuggets would have our ancestors turning in their graves, according to new research. A team from the University of Exeter has discovered that Iron Age Europeans actually revered the humble bird, almost as a deity — rather than a delicacy. Their new study finds men were buried with cockerels when they died, while women were laid to rest with hens. The international team may be rewriting the history of the world’s most popular meat, finding the chicken’s legacy is much more complicated than previously believed. “Eating chickens is so common that people think we have never not eaten them. Our evidence shows that our past relationship with chickens was far more complex, and that for centuries chickens were celebrated and venerated,” says co-author Professor Naomi Sykes in a university release. The findings are based on chicken remains from over 600 sites in 89 countries, ranging from Morocco to Greece and South America, to Stonehenge and Orkney. Bones, locations, and historical records provided new insights into now local societies and cultures regarded the chicken.