Ancient Libyan Pottery Is The Oldest Evidence of People Cooking Plants

56 of 110 pottery fragments unearthed from two southwestern Libyan archaeological sites occupied between 8400 and 10,200 years ago, contained a high proportion of palmitic acid to stearic acid. This indicates that these northern Africans were cooking plants in their pots just after the end of the last ice age.

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Sapienza University of Rome

The findings were published in Nature Plants.  The residue on some of the other pots suggested they were used to cook either animal products or a mix of animals and plants. Archaeologists had previously found the remains of a variety of plants at these sites—as well as stones used to grind plants and seeds into flour, and even rock art depicting a person picking plants—but the new findings are the first to definitively show that the sites’ occupants actually cooked them, yielding the oldest evidence of people cooking plants!

One thought on “Ancient Libyan Pottery Is The Oldest Evidence of People Cooking Plants

  1. Interesting indeed. But I have a question: aren’t those dates a bit surprisingly old for pottery in the Mediterranean? AFAIK in West Asia and even Greece they were by that time in the “pre-pottery” phase of the Neolithic (or even Mesolithic) at best. If so, I find the pottery itself rather than its contents the most interesting issue here.

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