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TOPIC: Oldest known pottery


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Earliest evidence discovered of plants cooked in ancient pottery

A team of international scientists, led by the University of Bristol, has uncovered the earliest direct evidence of humans processing plants for food found anywhere in the world.
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Ancient pottery
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Prehistoric porridge? First pots for plant cooking found

Prehistoric people may have cooked wild grains and plants in pots as early as 10,000 years ago, according to new evidence.
Scientists say the food was "a kind of porridge", acting as the staple diet when there was no meat from hunting.
The pottery fragments were found at two sites in the Libyan Sahara, which was then green and fertile.
 
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Pottery reveals Ice Age hunter-gatherers' taste for fish

Hunter-gatherers living in glacial conditions produced pots for cooking fish, according to the findings of a pioneering new study led by the University of York which reports the earliest direct evidence for the use of ceramic vessels.
Scientists from the UK, the Netherlands, Sweden and Japan carried out chemical analysis of food residues in pottery up to 15,000 years old from the late glacial period, the oldest pottery so far investigated. It is the first study to directly address the often posed question "why humans made pots?" The research is published in Nature.

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Jomon means 'cord pattern'. The Jomon period was named after the characteristic surface patterns made with twisted cords on the pottery of the period. The development of production techniques and decoration of this low-fired, unglazed pottery over this long period suggests that the country was stable and enjoyed a continuity of social organisation. The people lived by hunting, fishing and gathering with possibly some crop cultivation. Stone arrowheads and other tools for preparing food also showed increasing skill.
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Title: Earliest evidence for the use of pottery
Authors: O. E. Craig, H. Saul, A. Lucquin, Y. Nishida, K. Taché, L. Clarke, A. Thompson, D. T. Altoft, J. Uchiyama, M. Ajimoto, K. Gibbs, S. Isaksson, C. P. Heron & P. Jordan

Pottery was a hunter-gatherer innovation that first emerged in East Asia between 20,000 and 12,000 calibrated years before present (cal BP), towards the end of the Late Pleistocene epoch, a period of time when humans were adjusting to changing climates and new environments. Ceramic container technologies were one of a range of late glacial adaptations that were pivotal to structuring subsequent cultural trajectories in different regions of the world, but the reasons for their emergence and widespread uptake are poorly understood. The first ceramic containers must have provided prehistoric hunter-gatherers with attractive new strategies for processing and consuming foodstuffs, but virtually nothing is known of how early pots were used. Here we report the chemical analysis of food residues associated with Late Pleistocene pottery, focusing on one of the best-studied prehistoric ceramic sequences in the world, the Japanese Jomon. We demonstrate that lipids can be recovered reliably from charred surface deposits adhering to pottery dating from about 15,000 to 11,800 cal BP (the Incipient Jomon period), the oldest pottery so far investigated, and that in most cases these organic compounds are unequivocally derived from processing freshwater and marine organisms. Stable isotope data support the lipid evidence and suggest that most of the 101 charred deposits analysed, from across the major islands of Japan, were derived from high-trophic-level aquatic food. Productive aquatic ecotones were heavily exploited by late glacial foragers3, perhaps providing an initial impetus for investment in ceramic container technology, and paving the way for further intensification of pottery use by hunter-gatherers in the early Holocene epoch. Now that we have shown that it is possible to analyse organic residues from some of the world's earliest ceramic vessels, the subsequent development of this critical technology can be clarified through further widespread testing of hunter-gatherer pottery from later periods.

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Pottery invented in China to cook food and brew alcohol

The oldest known samples of pottery have been unearthed in southern China.
The US archaeologists involved have determined that fragments from a large bowl found in Xianrendong Cave, Jiangxi Province, are 20,000 years old.

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Researchers in China have dug up the oldest known pottery. How ancient is it? The late Palaeolithic: 14,000 to 21,000 years old, according to a study published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The pieces were most likely made and used by early foragers in the Yangzi Basin in the Hunan Province.
Radiocarbon dating of nearby charcoal and bones has pinpointed one fragment to be about 18,000 years old.

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Examples of pottery found in a cave at Yuchanyan in China's Hunan province may be the oldest known to science.
By determining the fraction of a type, or isotope, of carbon in bone fragments and charcoal, the specimens were found to be 17,500 to 18,300 years old.
The authors say that the ages are more precise than previous efforts because a series of more than 40 radiocarbon-dated samples support the estimate.

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