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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Oldest Man Made Structure Found In Greece

Oldest Man Made Structure Found In Greece

A 23,000 year old stone wall in front of Theopetra cave in Kalambaka, Greece (in the middle of the Greek mainland), probably built to protect its residents from cold winds at the height of the last ice age, is the oldest known example of a man made structure.

Some of the what was found, like remnants of fire, flint and quartz tools, early jewelry from deer teeth, animal bones and stone implements, are typical of the Mesolithic human archaeological sites. Other elements of the find were more notable:

Of interest are finds from the Mesolithic age related to ceramic production and cultivation. There is barley, wheat, and lentil in wild (Paleolithic age) form, but also as cultivars, which suggests that these people had discovered cultivation as the result of millennia-long efforts and not as the result of population movements from the Near East.

Implications For The History Of Food

There is considerable evidence that agriculture came to be, first, through collection of seeds from wild plants and probably cultivation of the wild plants, and then through the domestication of the wild species through selective planting with traits that made the plants more useful as food sources.

But, 23,000 years ago is very old for this kind of evidence. Wheat is native to Southwestern Anatolia, and lentils and barley are also part of the ancient Near Eastern agricultural package.

But, cultivation of domesticated versions of these crops is generally dated to around 11,000 to 13,000 years ago, give or take a millennium. Physical evidence can be used to track the arrival of this package of domesticated crops as it radiates from the Balkans to the West and North (and as it expands to the Indus River Valley in the East) over a period of many thousands of years.

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