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Hunter-gatherers used pots for cooking


A new study of pottery fragments found at multiple sites in Japan suggests that ancient hunter-gatherers used pots to cook fish and shellfish 15,000 years ago.

Chemical analyses of charred food clinging to pottery fragments from sites across Japan indicate that hunter-gatherers who lived there between 15,300 and 11,200 years ago cooked freshwater or marine animals in ceramic vessels, say bioarchaeologist Oliver Craig of the University of York in England and his colleagues.

Concentrations of a certain form of nitrogen in crusty morsels attached to ceramic vessels from Japan’s ancient J?mon culture indicate that these people used the pots for cooking, Craig’s team reports April 11 in Nature. Fatty acids extracted from food remnants on pottery from two J?mon sites confirmed that fish or other aquatic creatures had been cooked

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Story: Bruce Bower, ScienceNews | Photo: Tokamachi City Museum

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