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Oldest pottery hints at cooking's origin

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Did a deep freeze spur our ancestors to get cooking? The discovery that the oldest pots in the world were made in China around the time of the Last Glacial Maximum suggests that might be the case.

Hundreds of fragments of pottery have been found since the 1960s in Xianrendong cave in south-east China

Ofer Bar-Yosef of Harvard University and colleagues excavated the cave again in 2009 and, for the first time, used radiocarbon dating to work out the age of the layers where the pottery shards were found. The oldest ones turned out to be between 19,000 and 20,000 years old.

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No, I don't think that the last deep freeze got our anscestors into our first BBQ.

The discovery that meat tastes better cooked, probably happened about the same time that fire was discovered. Waaaay before 20,000 years ago.

One word: 'stickfrizzle'.

/or, do you mean in the sense of the first soups and stews?

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Interesting. My personal definition of "savages" is "people with no cuisine," which sounds frivolous until you think about it.

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Cooking food might help kill bacteria in not so fresh meat so maybe it was a survival thing, but there are also hangis, banana leaves and many other ways of cooking without ceramics...I would think cooking foods predates ceramics by a long time..

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There is a local professor here who teaches classes in ancient and medieval economics (who knew there was such a course!) and he (half jokingly) stated that pottery came about as a means of making beer... And writting came about as a means of marking the pottery so people knew when the beer was ready...

He has (or at least used to have) several lectures a year over the historical importance of beer... always a popular lecture...

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