Scientists discover ancient pottery preserving 16,000-year-old food

5/2/2020 18:44:00

A new international study found that ancient hunters in different areas in the Russian Far East created heat resistant pots so that they could cook hot meals. Those pots helped them survive the harshest seasons of the Ice Age. The study was published in the latest issue of the Quaternary Science Review journal.


During the study, the researchers extracted nutritious bone grease and marrow from meat that were preserved in the old pottery found between 16,000 and 12,000 years ago. Analysis proved that the inhabitants of some regions preferred salmon, while others cooked the meat of wild animals such as deer and goats.


The Osipovka people on the Amur River used pottery to process fish, most likely migratory salmon, and to extract aquatic oils. Such salmon-based hot pots remain a favorite even today.


For the late glacial period, such dishes were seen as an alternative food source during periods of major climatic fluctuation - for example when severe cold prevented hunting on land. An identical scenario was identified by the same research group in neighboring islands of Japan. Yet, according to scientists, the Gromatukha culture had other culinary ideas. They used pots to cook land animals, like deer and wild goat.


"They were probably used to extract nutritious bone grease and marrow during the hungriest seasons," the researchers suggested.


Peter Jordan, director of the Arctic Center at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, senior author of the study, told the Siberian Times newspaper: "The findings are particularly interesting because they suggest that there was no single 'origin point' for the world's oldest pottery – we realized that very different pottery traditions were emerging around the same time but in different places, and that the pots were being used to process very different kinds of resources."


Oliver Craig, director of the lab where the analyses were conducted at the University of York, said: "The study illustrates the exciting potential of new methods in archaeological science. We can extract and interpret the remains of meals that were cooked in pots over 16,000 years ago."




PUKmedia/ Asharq Al-Awsat


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