Pottery invented in China to cook food and brew alcohol

altThe 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.

The discovery, published in the journal Science, is the latest in recent years that have pushed back the invention of pottery by 10,000 years.

It is thought that the bowl was a cauldron to cook food, or possibly to brew alcohol.

Until recently, the majority view was that pottery bowls and drink receptacles were invented after the emergence of agriculture, when people began to stay in one place for long periods.

Part of the reasoning was that pottery items are large and breakable, and so not a useful technology for hunter-gatherer societies that moved from place to place in search of food.

But in the past 10 years, researchers have found instances of pottery pre-dating agriculture.

One possible reason for the invention of pottery is that 20,000 years ago the Earth was the coldest it had been for a million years.

Mais: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-18602281


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